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Delicate Arch Climbed!

Submitted By: John McNamee on May 9, 2006


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On Sunday morning Dean Potter made what is most likely the first modern ascent of Utah's Delicate Arch. He free soloed the arch a number of times in the early hours of the day while being photographed. The arch is closed to climbing. He also used white chalk which is not allowed in the park.

Personally I don't think this was a very smart move and it could have repercussions for all climbers in the Arches National Park.

The Salt Lake Tribune has reported it in yesterday's edition

Updated story in today's (Wednesday) edition

Link to forum discussion


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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 9, 2007
By joe t
From: slc
May 9, 2006

It's sort of a toss up between, man thats cool and, I still want to be able to climb owl rock.

By phil broscovak
May 9, 2006

I always wanted to climb the Washington Monument and the White House. Do you think they will mind? After all I am an American and can climb where and when I want to, right? While I am at it I think I will whip up a bald eagle egg omelet. I can cook it on the JFK eternal flame.
A spiritual adventure my ass. This was a photo-op and a shameless act of self agrandizment! Dean, you are a great climber why do you have to blow your load for 45 feet of bullshit? Would you still have done it if NO ONE was there to know about it? This is a low point in North American climbing. And a major black eye for climber / land manager relations! Fortunately for Dean his celebrity may help him pass with a wrist slap. But what about the rest of us dirt bag climbers and our dealings with the keeper of the keys?
Potter and Patagonia should be ashamed! They should probably cough up an apology and a huge donation to the access fund to mitigate damage.

By misterclimberman
May 10, 2006

i have a lot of respect for dean, but i believe that this was a bad move. it gives climbers a bad rap, by disrespecting rules set forth, irrelevant whether we agree with them or not. but shit, id do it too if i had the chance (i just wouldn't publicize it everywhere.)

By Avery N
From: Boulder, CO
May 10, 2006

I just find it to be a particularly poor reflection on the climbing community for purely selfish motives -- unfortunately, at the expense of you and me. One knows better. Real bad move...

Here's the press release from Arches, regarding the new regulations:

Arches National Park Announces Climbing Closures

Date
May 09, 2006

Contacts
Laura Joss, 435-719-2201
Karen McKinlay-Jones, 435-719-2222

Effective May 9, 2006, under the authority of Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 1, Section 1.5(a)(1), all rock climbing or similar activities on any arch or natural bridge named on the United States Geological Survey 7.5 minute topographical maps covering Arches National Park are prohibited.
In addition, slacklining in Arches National Park is prohibited. Slacklining is defined as walking on a rope or other line that is anchored between rock formations, trees, or any other natural features. Height of the rope above the ground is immaterial.

These closures are 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 resources and avoidance of conflict among visitor use activities.

By Dave Miller
From: Boulder
May 10, 2006

Wow....
I don't know Dean Potter other then what I have read in the mags.
I feel what he achieved in Arches National Park was a swift kick in the nuts for all climbers.Who do you (Dean)think you are? Are you above all laws and regulations? Thanks for starting the sliding slope for future climbing issues we might have with the national parks and on other lands.Hope the pictures are keepers ...Would not want your Patagonia sponsors to have a mediocre catalog this year.Very selfish, shame on you Dean Potter for thinking that you are above the law.
Guess I will need to re-new my gym membership due to all my favorite climbing areas future closure. Boycott Patagonia for supporting this selfish stunt.

By SirVato
From: Boulder
May 10, 2006

I think that this was a WEAK and SELFISH act. For someone as famous and respected as Potter, to publicize his blatant disregard for rules in an area where so much OTHER climbing is available, is total bullshit. Not to mention, a slap to face of the climbing community and, the people who work so hard to preserve access in sensitive areas.

My .02

And I agree with Phil. . . .
Potter and Patagonia should be ashamed! They should probably cough up an apology and a huge donation to the access fund to mitigate damage.

By Charles Danforth
From: L'ville, CO
May 10, 2006

To be fair, it sounds like this was done on Potter's own time and that Patagonia is as surprised as the rest of us. Still, it's a tacky tacky stunt. Aid climbing Mt. Rushmore would be extremely cool, too, but goes beyond the pale of what is in good taste. Ditto New Hampshire's late, lamented Old Man of the Mountains, the Washington Monument, etc. The damage to climber-landowner relations is going to be significant.

I agree, best course of action would be for Patagonia to drop Potter as one of their "ambassadors" and for them to make a major donation to the Access Fund to try to counteract this mess. I've sent them a note to this effect and encourage others to do so as well.

By Jeff Gustafson
May 10, 2006

Just because it's there doesn't mean you need to climb it, spirituality and nature aside. George Mallory proved that 80 years ago.

By Jeff Barnow
From: Boulder Co
May 10, 2006

"These closures are 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 resources and avoidance of conflict among visitor use activities."

Depending on how one interprets this statement I think that it represents the fact that someone always has a problem with things that other people are doing. For example in Boulder I constantly hear complaining about dogs that are walked off the leash, people talking on their cell phones, people having fun congregating and riding their bikes around town, drinking, smoking, driving their car instead of riding their bike, eating meat, etc... I don't exactly understand how a guy climbing a rock in particular an arch or natural bridge puts anyone aside from himself in jeopardy of compromising anyone's health or safety. I guess if it topples over but then again a strong gust of wind could do that too. If the climber isn't bolting or damaging the rock and doesn't use caulk then it doesn't change it's appearance. Are they going to make it illegal to climb couliors because the line compromises the aesthetic value of the mountain or because potential avalanche danger puts the public's health at risk. To me this rule is just another way for the man to hold us down for reasons I don't understand.

By Edward Gerety
From: Miami, FL
May 10, 2006

Jeff Barnow Wrote:
...
I don't exactly understand how a guy climbing a rock...
...
just another way for the man to hold us down for reasons I don't understand...

Well Jeff, your understanding isn't the topic here.

It's sort of like smoking pot in public. Don't do it! If you want to do something harmless but illegal in private, OK. If you want to create bad juju and open yourself to punishment, tell the world about it.

The act of climbing wasn't inherently bad. Publicizing it wasn't too smart. It's on the same order as basejumping El Cap. Let's hope the only one punished is Potter.

By Randy Carmichael
From: Boulder, CO
May 10, 2006

Sure hope the pics aren't used to sell some magazines.

By artley
From: fort collins
May 10, 2006

climbing the rock with out leaving a trace is OK telling everybody about it makes you look like a chump for putting everybody's access at risk for your own publicity

By Allen Hill
From: FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
May 11, 2006

As much as I hate to say anything that might make me seem a Rush Limbaugh fan, here it is. Ditto's Phil. Your right on. By the way Phil talked to Chuck yesterday, he's out climbing in the desert on a well needed vaction.

By Chris Weber
From: Boulder, CO
May 11, 2006

If you want to email Patagonia and express your disapproval, their general comments address is customer_service@patagonia.com

I like climbing in Arches (and other parks), and I like Patagonia stuff. But I think they should know that as an "ambassador" for Patagonia, this makes both Potter and the company look bad. Whether or not they knew about it, I wouldn't want my company associated with him.

I wrote the following letter, FWIW:

5/11/06

Dear Yvon/Patagonia:

By now you have certainly heard about the actions of your Ambassador, Dean Potter, in Arches National Park, Utah, and the reactions in the press and by public officials. As a 20 year customer of your company, I was deeply disappointed to hear about this illegal act that jeopardizes climbing for the American public and that it was committed by a "poster-child" for your company, and that you promoted the act. Whether or not you or members of the company knew about the climb in advance, I strongly urge you to cut all ties with Dean Potter, financial and otherwise. Anything less would be hypocritical. This selfish act will impede access for regular climbers like me. Patagonia's commitment to style and ethics would lead me to believe that you would disapprove of his actions. As we all attempt to preserve access to the world's wild lands, Potter's actions put a most-unneeded blemish on the face of climbers, making us look like self-absorbed egoists who believe that they are above the law. His shameless self-promotion, under the guise of what will be perceived as enviro-psycho-babble by land managers, only adds to this blemish. Much like the sad reality of the drug addict hurting "only themself," if Potter truly needed to act on his "obsession" with climbing the arch, why didn't he do it quietly and keep it to himself? Why not commune with nature and do it without hurting the average climber's ability to do the same? This is self-aggrandizement in its worst form and will hurt others who want to climb on public lands. Please see the quotes attributed to Potter and Patagonia below.

Mountain climbers already get a (often undeserved) bad rap for their selfish pursuit of climbing. Maybe Potter needs to move from Moab so that he isn't so bored the thousands of climbs that he can legally climb there. Aren't there un-freed climbs in the Fishers he can work on?

Please respond to my concerns as soon as possible. I hope that Patagonia will take as strong an ethical stance on this issue as they have on many others.

-Chris Weber
Boulder, Colorado

From the Salt Lake Tribune:
"For the past four years or so, I've been going up there kind of obsessively and looking at it in every possible light," Potter said Tuesday. "When I realized I was going to try this, I started going out to it more and more frequently."
Feeling his way along the rock face early Sunday morning, Potter inched his way to the top of Delicate Arch, stood on the flat, wide shelf and looked out over the Moab Valley.
"This was one of the most beautiful climbs I've ever done," Potter said. "For me, it was just an overwhelming experience, as if the formation was vibrating with energy."
"Patagonia's publicity department initially alerted the media to Potter's ascent, but indicated it may back off on further promotions after learning that Potter may have broken park service regulations."

By Terry Parker
From: Fort Collins, CO
May 11, 2006

Also have to agree with all the folks, the climb of Delicate Arch by Dean Potter is not appreciated by me. However, in my youth I too have been guilty of civil disobedience, careless acts, etc.. that I would not like to review at this time. Hopefully, Dean will see this act as a mistake and part of the maturing process.

Not all laws are written Dean. Don't do something like this again kid.

Signed,
50 year old armchair climber

By Adam Stackhouse
Administrator
May 11, 2006

Don't allow an admiration for someone's climbing ability to be confused with respect, integrity or superior intellectual decision making. Anyway, I like your comment Terry. Hopefully someday he will come to realize that some places or things are just better left alone. Nonobservance of conservation is just not going to get anyone anywhere.

By Michael Amato
May 11, 2006

I think he's old enough, experienced enough and accomplished enough to know better.

By Andrew May
From: Sandy, UT
May 12, 2006

That was a well written letter Chris. Be sure to post the reply, should you get one out of Patagonia.
I have to agree with all of you, Potter acted like an idiot. It makes the climbing community as a whole look like a bunch of irresponsible, reckless and law breaking vandals.

By ClimbPHX.com
From: Mesa AZ
May 12, 2006

I understand your feeling on keeping nature pure and undisturbed. But I dont agree that all climbers destroy natural features when climbing and therefore Delicate Arch being free solo'd was a climbing masterpiece. Without aid or bolts, Delicate Arch will remain a treasure for years to come and you have simply advertised one of climbings crowning acheviements.

By Kirk Woerner
May 12, 2006

"These closures are 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 resources and avoidance of conflict among visitor use activities."

Jeff Barnow was the only one to question the closures based on this statement and to notice that there is very little good reason to stop people from free-soloing there.

From reading his quotes, Dean didn't "know" he was breaking the regulations and certainly wasn't doing anything against his own values. Analyzing it from his perspective, it's easy to see the thought process. There's a big difference between one man free soloing something early in the morning, and crowds of people pulling their way up grid bolted / chipped walls screwing up peoples view and worrying the arch until it falls.

But rules apply to everybody and are hard lines in the sand, while the values they're based on are less precise. "good rules" strike the right balance between promoting the common good and respecting individuals rights. The question is whether this is a "good rule". If it is, one follows it. If not, one fights it on principle. What did Dean do?

By Bruce Hildenbrand
May 12, 2006

They don't call it Delicate Arch for nothing. The rock in Arches National Monument is really, really soft. This isn't Yosemite granite. Even the act of free soloing and rappelling off will undoubtedly leave some form of impact or trace of an ascent. Note that Dean also used white chalk, which doesn't always wash off in the next rainstorm.

So, given the very soft nature of this particular formation, the argument that free soling leaves no trace does not really apply here. What did Dean do? He climbed a prohibited formation and left a trace of his ascent.

Bruce

By Brian Milhaupt
From: Golden, CO
May 13, 2006

When did you all become so afraid to break a rule?
Edward Abbey would be proud.

By phil broscovak
May 13, 2006

Brian,
That is absurd! Ed Abbey would be appalled as this act will only mean more draconian rules and regulations for all of us! The whole Hayduke M.O. was to NOT be seen or caught. They weren't flying a big banner with their names on it off of the house boats. And they weren't filming a promotional video of their exploits in monkey wrenching. I don't have a problem with an independent will, free spirit, or bandito approach. And I don't have a real problem with a delicate ascent. I can assure you that Dean was not the first ascensionist of DA. But he was the first to try and sell crash pads and chalk bags by doing it. And that is what I have a problem with. This in your face defiance will have negative ramifications to land management plans for years to come. Leave No Trace...Show No Face

By Bruce Hildenbrand
May 13, 2006

Yeah, what Phil B. says. Climbers have been doing clandestine ascents of forbidden formations for a long, long time with the only record of such feats being word of mouth. For example, people have been climbing the towers on the Golden Gate Bridge for over 40 years (its a bit more difficult now after 911). But, nobody ever dragged a film crew and reporter from a newspaper along to publicize their ascent.

It would be interesting to know Potter's motivation for publicizing his ascent. I really can't believe he thought was he was doing was legal in any way shape or form. Maybe he was publicizing the ascent to thumb his nose at the NPS for banning slacklining in the Monument.

Bruce

By Andrew May
From: Sandy, UT
May 13, 2006

I agree with Phil B. The fact that he publicized the event really makes me mad. This may make other people think that they can climb DA without any consequences.
I can see some amateur trying to solo it, "Just like Dean Potter did", and falling right off. Or the arch falling right on top of him/her...

By matthew sawyer
May 13, 2006

Can anyone name a natural rock formation in the USA that is less appropriate to be climbed? Well, maybe chossy cliffs above your local highway. How many tens of thousands of people in Utah did Dean manage to p#$% off? Its only their state symbol. Has anyone noticed how little attention has been paid to his descent? Ever rapped off of Dark Angel or Owl Rock, remember the huge grooves worn away into those rocks? Dean has given a black eye to all climbers, slapped the state of Utah in the face, and exemplified the worst that Americans represent, with all the rock available in the world, his greed to climb this invaluable symbol will hurt access for decades...

By Brian Milhaupt
From: Golden, CO
May 13, 2006

Shiprock...

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
May 13, 2006

Maybe it’s time for everyone to take a deep breath, because character-assassinating Dean will do nothing toward reconciling this situation.

He did not shoot down a nest full of peregrine falcons, nor did he break a specific law - or rule - for that matter. Several news agencies quoted Arches Park Superintendent (Laura Joss) as conceding that Delicate Arch was not specifically closed, but that most climbers understood that it was off limits. Joss also said: "No other climber has interpreted these ‘guidelines’ the way he did, but since he has, we clearly needed to strengthen the rules." The park regulations have since been amended, and Dean has promised not to violate them.

Considering the above statements, I see no reason for Dean’s own climbing community to publicly disdain him. In light of his and Joss’s description of the rules, his only indiscretion was that he tested a park guideline and then publicized it. Who among us has never tested a guideline in order to achieve a personal best, or at least seriously thought about it?

On a positive note, Dean’s ascent has prompted the park service to amend the rules, so that they are explicit. This action should end any controversy about what is and isn’t allowed, and I see no reason why the park service would take steps toward punishing the climbing community as a whole.

One closing thought, if I may: It is too easy to jump on the vigilante bandwagon when things get hot, although I believe that a modicum self-restraint would better represent us at this point. Many of you are throwing stones at someone about whom you know little or nothing of the person and his mindset. We can, however, safely assume that he shares a passion, among many climbers, for the pursuit of personal excellence in our sport. Such pursuits will inevitably bring us face-to-face with conflicting rules, at some point, and the best that we can do is to learn how to negotiate them in a way that preserves overall harmony. Hindsight is twenty/twenty, and time will tell if Dean has grown from this experience, so let’s ease up and allow him that time.

KC

By Malcolm Daly
From: Boulder, CO
May 13, 2006

Ken's right. 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

Malcolm Daly

By Bruce Hildenbrand
May 13, 2006

Ken,

can you please post pointers to the news media where the NPS superintendent admitted that Delicate Arch is not specifically closed to climbing.

Here is the pre-ascent and post-ascent wording of the of NPS regulations, frankly, I don't see how these two really differ that much and how Dean's ascent of Delicate Arch could be considered legal pre-ascent and now illegal post ascent.

Pre-ascent:

"Climbing is prohibited on any arch identified on current USGS 7.5 minute topographical maps; on Balanced Rock year-round; on Bubo from January 1st to June 30th; on Industrial Disease on the Devil Dog Spire from January 1st to June 30th."

Post-ascent:

"Effective May 9, 2006, under the authority of Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 1, Section 1.5(a)(1), all rock climbing or similar activities on any arch or natural bridge named on the United States Geological Survey 7.5 minute topographical maps covering Arches National Park are prohibited."

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
May 13, 2006

www.abc4.com/local_news/local_headlines/story.aspx?content_i>>>


deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,635206306,00.html

By Ron Olsen
From: Boulder, CO
May 13, 2006

On the other hand: deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,635206395,00.html

"The National Park Service regulation is abundantly clear:

'Climbing is prohibited on any arch identified on current USGS 7.5 minute topographical maps.'

Delicate Arch is on the map. Thus it is off-limits."

This is in reference to the pre-climb regulation, not the amended post-climb regulation.

By phil broscovak
May 14, 2006

Here is a scenario. A herd of tuoronasaurus photographicus are milling around the base of delicate arch on a typical Arches scorcher. From the crowd emerges a wild haired youth. He is on summer vacation with his parents. He is wearing his Dean Potter chinos and Dean Potter polo shirt. He sports an empty but oh so fashionable Dean Potter chalk bag. The chalk bag is empty as new Park Service regulations require leaving all nail clippers, climbing paraphenallia and "chalk" at check point Potter before entering. In the sixties this kid would have been wearing a cowbow costume complete with six shooter. But that was old hero stuff. This kid doesn't want to be like Gary Cooper and he doesn't want to "be like Mike". He wants to be like Dean! The kid has seen this scene before. Cyber DejaVu. Something deep in his cerebral cortex clicks and the kid becomes transfixed and transcendent. Ignoring the newly bolted on "no climbing above sign" sign and his parents consternation he goes for it just like BigD. Only his spiritual quest ends as a sweated off splat spot at his parents feet. Damn that Park Service rule against chalk. Did I mention the hoard of cameras clicking and whirring away. You just can't buy publicity like that!

While Dean is in no way responsible for the actions of others he should be accountable for his own. He should have known better. I really wonder what was the actual dialog he had with the ranger. Dean "hey can I climb that thing". Ranger " oh yeah sure go for it no body gives a shit Mr. Potter".
What could be clearer, No climbing on named arches and no white chalk! The issue is not a single ascent of Delicate Arch. Which by the way vibrated for Dean not because of his transcendence but because it is very "Delicate". Just look at how massively top heavy it is above the erosion zones. The issue is on going and long term relations with land managers everywhere for all climbers' access. Does anyone like having to have their hand held by rangers to climb at Hueco? What about the 'great' treatment climbers get at Red Rocks Nv.? Many areas around the country that are of significant interest to climbers are up for review of their use and management. And what about Private land owners? Do you think they care how cool Dean is?
Take for example Lou Pai. Louie is the former founder of Enron who owns the Taylor Ranch, one of the largest land parcels in Colorado. The Taylor Ranch contains all of Mount Culebra the only state 14er wholly owned by a single private citizen. Access to climb Culebra has been more than problematic since Louie and his armed patrols took over. And trust me Mr Lou will use anything, anything to restrict access to his domain. And that is only one example. The 14ers are criss crossed with private lands and mining claims. Now you or Dean may not care to one day climb all of the 14ers in Colorado but believe me it is a dream and motivation to a great many more people than those who aspire to climb 5.16. And in the long run, all fads aside, the regular outside Joes (and Janes) are the engine of the outdoor industry. Glamour sells but it's regular folk that buy and they buy what they can believe in. Or are sold! Now if these folks cant fulfill their dreams because of imposed access restrictions will the market be happy? Face it our independent free spirited transcendental communion with nature IS big business.

Just because the NPS has so far only said oops guess we need to dumb down the legal speak don't for a moment think that this is over. I predict in a few years it and similarly bone headed acts will be called pullin' a Potter or perhaps doin' a Dean.

By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
May 14, 2006

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.

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
May 14, 2006

George,

With all due consideration, your post sounds as though it were written by a spiteful teenager. Do you actually know Dean? Were you privy to his conversation with the ranger? You sound like you want him to be guilty.

One would think that someone who has been around as long as you would have learned not to make snap judgments.

By Malcolm Daly
From: Boulder, CO
May 14, 2006

This is from an interview with Linda Joss, the Park Superintendent at Arches:

Arches Park Superintendent Laura Joss said she reported Potter's climb to the Interior Department's chief lawyers and that park rangers were investigating whether Potter did any damage to Delicate Arch, where a photographer was once charged with a misdemeanor for setting fires under the span.

Joss said she was rewriting rules Tuesday to ban climbing of any named arches or natural bridges in the park. The old rules said Delicate Arch was among landscape features that "may be closed for all or a portion of the year due to aesthetic, wildlife or other resource-related concerns."

Joss conceded that Delicate Arch wasn't specifically closed, but that most climbers understood it was off-limits. Except for Potter.

"The Park Service didn't want me to do it, but no law was broken," he said.

Said Joss, "No other climber has interpreted these guidelines the way he did, but since he has, we clearly needed to strengthen the rules." The new rules took effect Tuesday and were posted prominently on the park's Web site.

Very clearly the regs did not ban climbing on Delicate. The rules that were posted on the website and in the brochure were not the regs on the books. Loophole? You bet. You can be sure that if there was any way for the NPS to charge Potter with anything, they would have. They didn't so they must have known about the loophole too.

The park is looking at the arch to see if the climb caused any damage to it. If it did, surely Dean will be cited for that but, so far, nothing. He was pretty careful.

I'm glad they tightened up the regs to permanently ban climbing on the arch. I'm also glad that Dean found the loophole and got to climb it. What an inspiration! As for long term negative affects on climber/ranger relations? Probably not much. There is no evidence that Arches or any other park is doing anything other that looking over their rule books to be sure that the rules say what they think they say.

Mal

By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
May 14, 2006

The NPS case is not helped by the fact that slightly different wording has been used for the regulations (see Bruce's version above and Ron's below!). I also checked several climbing guides that have Arches in them, they refer to the ban on white chalk and suggest you check at the ranger station for further regulations.

The publicity stunt was the real mistake for Dean Potter. Sure, violations have occurred in the past but nobody trumpeted their ascent on Fox News!

By Lowell Skoog
May 14, 2006

Malcolm Daly seems to be looking at this issue with blinders on. You're thinking in terms of climber/NPS relations when you should be thinking in terms of climber/public relations.

There will always be some tension between climbers and the NPS, and it's true that the Delicate Arch climb may not affect that relationship much directly. But following this issue on other forums, I've seen Salt Lake Trib editorials and letters to the editor, as well as a statement of condemnation from the Access Fund. It's clear that the issue has blown up way beyond the realm of climbers and the NPS. It's in front of the mainstream press, the general public, and even the politicians. That world is not happy about the climb and they expect someone to be held accountable.

Maybe Dean Potter didn't break a law explicitly. But the guidelines were well-known and just because something is not illegal doesn't make it right. I think Potter should apologize publicly for what he did, and if he won't, I think he should lose his "ambassador" job. That's the sort of accountability that the public expects. If Potter is not held accountable, then we shouldn't be surprised if the public, the press, and the politicians support tighter and more arbitrary restrictions on all climbers. The NPS responds to public input. So indirectly, the Delicate Arch climb could have a definite negative effect.

If Dean Potter takes seriously his role as an ambassador, he needs to keep his Delicate Arch blunder (and yes, it was a blunder) from affecting the entire climbing community by taking responsibility himself.

By Scott Conner
From: Lyons, CO
May 14, 2006

Malcolm Daly Wrote: "What an inspiration!"

You serious? Maybe Potter should be the next Trango spokesperson? Heck, maybe he is, FIIK...

By Adam Stackhouse
Administrator
May 14, 2006

""Considering the above statements, I see no reason for Dean's own climbing community to publicly disdain him. In light of his and Joss�s description of the rules, his only indiscretion was that he tested a park guideline and then publicized it""

Is the writer of this thinking as a fellow climber or as a Joe citizen?

""Very clearly the regs did not ban climbing on Delicate. The rules that were posted on the website and in the brochure were not the regs on the books. Loophole? You bet. You can be sure that if there was any way for the NPS to charge Potter with anything, they would have. They didn't so they must have known about the loophole too.""

Does it really matter? Does the writer really believe this? Come on, common sense knows what it means...

Finally, step out of this climbing forum. If the NPS makes a big deal out of it, then he really screwed up for all of us. If they dont make a big deal then he still really screwed up but got away with it. Either way, there are plenty of rocks to satisfy ones ego. Stay the hell away from rock that the federal government has chosen to protect. Is it right that they prohibit certain activities from this chunk of rock? Thats to be debated. Does sanctioning some stud to break the rules for the sake of self satisfaction relinquish accountability? Not in my mind. Thats what manifests more regulations.

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
May 15, 2006

ATS wrote: "Is the writer of this thinking as a fellow climber or as a Joe citizen?"

Thirty year veteran climber, forty-six years on the planet. I am thinking as both. What is your point?

ATS wrote: "Finally, step out of this climbing forum. If the NPS makes a big deal out of it, then he really screwed up for all of us. If they dont make a big deal then he still really screwed up but got away with it."

So is this your reason for the diatribe? Will you feel cheated out of something if he, as you say, gets away with it?

ATS wrote: "Stay the hell away from rock that the federal government has chosen to protect."

Are you invoking this order, or are you representing the federal government? Will you also don the roll of judge and jury? If the government had been half as concerned with the arch as you seem to be, then it would have placed an explicit moratorium on climbing it, long ago.

This type of ranting and witch hunting is helping nothing. It is embarrassing.

By Ron Olsen
From: Boulder, CO
May 15, 2006

Malcolm Daly wrote:
Very clearly the regs did not ban climbing on Delicate. The rules that were posted on the website and in the brochure were not the regs on the books. Loophole? You bet.

So what were "the regs on the books?" Does anyone know the exact wording of the "official" regulation prior to Dean's climb?

The wording that has been posted here and elsewhere is "Climbing is prohibited on any arch identified on current USGS 7.5 minute topographical maps."

If that wasn't the official regulation "on the books", then what was?

If that was the official regulation, then climbing Delicate Arch (identified on the USGS Big Bend UT topo map) clearly violated the regulation.

By Avery N
From: Boulder, CO
May 15, 2006

There are the Malcolms, Kens, and some others who sound as if they believe it was an acceptable act -- or at least are not an issue. Certainly the Access Fund does not agree with these individuals, and I believe they typically assess the pulse and best-interest of the climbing community.

I strongly *suspect* that:
- The climbing community (or part thereof) is not highly offended by the legality of this issue. Would they be up in arms equally about any/every other violation? Say, using white chalk -- just once -- on another legal climb?
- The climbing community (or part thereof) would not be outraged, had someone climbed the arch without any general public knowledge (perhaps it would become 'urban legend', but certainly not high profile)
- The climbing community (or part thereof) would not be highly offended by the damage to the structure if, for instance, they found the damage to be negligible -- say equal to that of a single storm.

Whereas, I *suspect* the following is moreso the root issue. Perhaps this may help shed some light for those in the 'it's cool' or 'it's okay' camp, as to why the rest of us are pretty bummed:
- The climbing community (or part thereof) is a little ticked that DP portrayed himself 'more worthy' than the rest of the climbing community to (ab)use the written law (or lack thereof) to 'legally' climb DA. Mere mortal climbers need-not-apply?
- The climbing community (or part thereof) is a little ticked that DP did not act in what most would consider to be an ethical manner
- The climbing community (or part thereof) is a little ticked that DP shows no remorse to the Park service, Climbing Community, or other Citizens that 'use' and 'own' the arch; thus it could be perceived that he believes himself 'above the rest of us' or that his standards for ethics are sub-par. Hard to learn from a 'mistake' if you don't consider it a mistake.
- The climbing community (or part thereof) is more than a little ticked that DP flaunted this in a pre-mediated manner with the use of extensive media, which appears to be entirely for selfish and personal gain
- The climbing community (or part thereof) is more than a little ticked that DP degraded climber-public AND climber-park service relations to a certain level (this is incontestable IMO), and that this 'case' could (and most likely WILL) be reflected upon when making future decisions about various climber rights in National Parks or other public areas. It's pretty cool we have the PRIVILEGE to climb in National Parks. Who really wants one person indirectly 'making decisions' for every individual? As a side-note, mountain bikers are probably an even larger group of 'mountain users' which are denied access entirely.
- The climbing community (or part thereof) is more than a little ticked that a company who's specifically projected focus is "do what's right for the environment, not what you're legally required to do" would attempt to promote the incident and continue to retain DP in a 'promoting our product as an *ambassador*' role without any demerits issued.

Anyhow, that's my personal take of the whole situ. Life will go-on, but it's good the community understand each other on these issues -- so as to prevent further incidents and promote an understanding that the acts of a single individual have the potential to affect the entire climbing community.

On another interesting note... went down to Patagonia Denver to return an unused pack, as it didn't fit well. I told the employee that the DP incident wasn't my reason for the return, but that I was quite disappointed in the manner Patagonia initially tried to promote the incident, and lack of public response to the general public's discontent. The clerk didn't even know what I was talking about, until she went and flipped through a clipboard; that's sad. Has anyone seen a formal response issued from Patagonia? Perhaps I'm just missing it, but it's certainly not on their 'Press Room'. IMO -- their inability to provide a timely formal response does do some additional damage to my image of Patagonia (which I have a lot of respect for).

Ron - Couldn't find a previous copy of the regs on the NPS site, but here are the new/improved excerpts from the complete linked PDF

Paul - Too damn funny. >"I predict in a few years it and similarly bone headed acts will be called pullin' a Potter or perhaps doin' a Dean."

Malcom - >"Dean asked a park ranger if it was okay to climb Delicate Arch and was given the go-ahead."
If this was in fact the case and asked/stated clear as a bell, it changes ***everything***, except for the fact about him flaunting himself in the media. I would be curious to know if the ranger had a name, and the exact conversation. Funny this has not yet been public info (from what I can tell). I would think DP would have come forward with this info; had it been true and straight-forward, could have prevented a lot of damage to his reputation and the reputation of the climbing community. Call me a pessimist, but I don't believe it without those details being publicly stated and acknowledged by both parties.

-Avery

www.nps.gov/applications/parks/arch/ppdocuments/ARCHCompendi>>>

"ARCHES NATIONAL PARK
CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS
TITLE 36, CHAPTER 1
...
May 9, 2006

SECTION 1.5 CLOSURES AND PUBLIC USE LIMITS
...
Rock Climbing:
Definitions:
Technical Rock Climbing is defined as ascending or descending a rock formation utilizing rock climbing equipment.

Free Climbing and Clean Aid Climbing are minimum impact approaches that employ chocks, stoppers, nuts and camming devices, rather than pitons or bolts, for protection or direct support. These are climbing aids that are removable and do not damage the rock.

Slacklining is defined as walking on a rope or other line that is anchored between rock formations, trees, or any other natural features. Height of the rope above the ground is immaterial.

The following closures, conditions, and restrictions apply to rock climbing or similar activities such as, but not limited to, technical rock climbing, free climbing and clean aid climbing within Arches National Park:
Closures:
1. Any arch or natural bridge named on the United States Geological Survey 7.5 minute topographical maps covering Arches National Park is closed to climbing year-round.
2. Balanced Rock- Closed to climbing year-round.
3. Bubo- Closed from January 1st to June 30th.
...
The use of chalk for climbing must be of a color that blends with the native rock.
..."

By Ron Olsen
From: Boulder, CO
May 15, 2006

I found the official regulations in force prior to Dean's ascent: Old Regulations

Relevant portions:

------------------------

"COMPENDIUM
ARCHES NATIONAL PARK
February 7, 2006
SECTION 1.5 CLOSURES AND PUBLIC USE LIMITS

Rock Climbing:

The following rock climbing routes may be closed for all or a portion of the year due to aesthetic, wildlife, or other resource related concerns:
1. Any arch identified on the current issue U.S.G.S. 7.5 minute topographical map.
2. Balanced Rock- Closed to climbing year-round.
3. Bubo- Closed from January 1st to June 30th.
4. Industrial Disease on the Devil Dog Spire is closed from January 1st to June 30th.

The use of chalk for climbing must be of a color that blends with the native rock.

Webbing left at rappel/belay points must be subdued colors that blend with the rock.

The use of motorized power drills is prohibited."

------------------------

The key phrase is "may be closed". It did not say "are closed." Thus there indeed was a loophole, and Dean danced right through it.

The New Regulations close the loophole by:
1. Stating that closures apply to "rock climbing or similar activities." (So the closures apply to soloing, not just forms of rock climbing that use technical equipment like ropes, harnesses, protection, etc.)
2. Stating that any named arch or natural bridge is closed to climbing year-round (not may be closed).

By phil broscovak
May 15, 2006

Submitted By: John McNamee on Mar 3, 2006

Tommy Caldwell, Topher Donahue and Erik Roed free-climbed the 4000 foot route Linea di Eleganza on Fitz Roy at 5.12+, onsighting the second ascent of the Patagonian route in a single, team-free push.

Starting up at 11 a.m. and climbing through the night, they reached the summit of Fitz Roy at 3 p.m. the following day. See climbing magazine's hot flashes for details.



NOW THAT IS INSPIRATIONAL CLIMBING TO STAND IN AWE OF.

By Henry
May 15, 2006

A lot of splitting hairs in this forum...if it comes down to that, it seems apparent that Potter did something not to kosher. Why deny it?

By Ron Olsen
From: Boulder, CO
May 15, 2006

Henry, I was not trying to justify what Potter did; I think it was inappropriate.

I was trying to verify Malcolm Daly's remarks when he said: "Very clearly the regs did not ban climbing on Delicate. The rules that were posted on the website and in the brochure were not the regs on the books. Loophole? You bet."

By Malcolm Daly
From: Boulder, CO
May 15, 2006

Ron,
Thanks for doing the research and posting that reg. After reading it I think that I was mistaken: there was no loophole. Delicate Arch was plain and simply open when Dean climbed it. The situation seems identical to climbing the 3rd Flatiron or the Naked Edge in October. They are just open--no climbing restrictions and no closures. I think we were all operating under the assumption that the thing was closed, as it probably should have been. Only it wasn't closed and it took Dean figured that out. I imagine that he approached a ranger and asked if it was okay to climb Delicate. The ranger looked up the regulation and said something like, "Hmmmm. I guess so." So he climbed it. Bravo.

I'm glad, however, that it and all the other named arches are closed now. Delicate Arch and the others are fragile icons that clearly couldn't handle any significant traffic. We need to protect these places for future generations to enjoy. I think it's fine that there are things that can't or shouldn't be climbed for various reasons. Private land, difficulty, spiritual value, resource damage or whatever. I also think that there are some closures that are total bullshit--the Totem Pole, for instance. There's one that, ostensibly, is closed for Navajo religious significance yet is open to climbing for a huge fee. Hell, if you have enough money and you're a big US corporation you can land a car on the top of it and film a commercial. Their hypocrisy is breathtaking.
Mal

By Dave Wachter
May 15, 2006

C'mon, folks. Is anybody REALLY under the impression that DP didn't think he was at least stretching the rules? And so what if he queried one ranger (presumably not in a position of specified authority regarding such regulations) about the climb beforehand? A high-profile first ascent such as this, which any reasonable person would have assumed off-limits, deserved a significant pre-climb investigation. By the way, Potter's purported ranger approval still remains hypothetical. I heartily agree that this ranger-permission allegation should be revealed in more detail. Certainly, if a ranger gave the go-ahead despite park regulations against the action, he/she should bear some responsibility. Wanting to protect the ranger against possible repercussions would not seem to me to be a legitimate reason to withhold clarification - after all, rangers are a form of police, and don't have much right to object to being policed.

But back to DP: Clearly, the soft sandstone of Arches would be marked/"marred" over time by climbers, particularly with the use of white chalk (not to mention the accumulation of boot rubber over time). Anyone who's climbed at Indian Creek can attest to that. Starting a precedent of climbing high-visibility formations in the park, particularly those viewed up close and valued for the beauty of the actual stone, would be at the very least a first step toward poor relations between climbers and authorities/other visitors.

The bottom line: DP, as a "professional climber," is dependent on publicity to continue making a living. He alone is responsible for his choice of publicity stunts, and the choices he makes determine what kind of "ambassador" he is for his good (or otherwise) name, and that of his sponsors (Patagonia can determine whether or not they get my continued support based on their response to all this). I'll watch this subject with interest as it continues to unfold, but it would take some seriously unlikely twists to this story to make me think of Ambassador Potter with any sense of camaraderie or pride.

By Eddy Daly
From: Albuquerque, NM
May 16, 2006

Potter knew what he was doing and that, I believe, is damnable. Some of us climb "forbidden" features and in "closed" areas often. Monkey Wrench mentality is cool...even admirable (I believe Abbey is smiling). Publicizing it and then standing on some grandiose platform of climbing rights is hypocritical and destructive. Especially to those of us who pay to climb...you know....the UNsponsored masses.It was an act of arrogance to make the ascent public knowledge and, it seems to me, in direct conflict with Patagonia's ethical mission. Que no, Yvon?

By Tan Slacks
From: Joshua tree
May 16, 2006

I just recieved this email from Patagonia.

"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.”

By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
May 16, 2006

I guess it's clear now where the players stand: Potter thinks what he did was fine and could care less what climbers or anybody else thinks. Patagonia takes no position at all and probably hopes all this will just go away. We all wonder where Dean's vision will take him now from the pinnacle of his sport, and whether Patagonia even wants to know what that vision is. At least the Access Fund had the guts to say they did not think his ascent was right.

I think the whole point here is how will the ascent of Delicate Arch change how non-climbers view our sport? As climbers, it is impossible for us to predict this. We just have to wait and see what happens. It seems that the impact has got to be negative, but just how negative? Only time will tell.

By Eddy Daly
From: Albuquerque, NM
May 16, 2006

Well said, George. I sincerely hope the fallout is minimal.
Thanks.

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
May 16, 2006

George Bell wrote: "I guess it's clear now where the players stand: Potter thinks what he did was fine and could care less what climbers or anybody else thinks. Patagonia takes no position at all and probably hopes all this will just go away. We all wonder where Dean's vision will take him now from the pinnacle of his sport, and whether Patagonia even wants to know what that vision is. At least the Access Fund had the guts to say they did not think his ascent was right.

I think the whole point here is how will the ascent of Delicate Arch change how non-climbers view our sport? As climbers, it is impossible for us to predict this. We just have to wait and see what happens. It seems that the impact has got to be negative, but just how negative? Only time will tell."

Grow up, George. Why are you so personally offended by this, and why are you trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill? Moreover, why is it so hard for you to see that some of us are simply trying to stay level-headed and keep this all in perspective?

I honestly think that non-climbers would consider this childish whining and bickering more offensive than the act itself. In fact, your incessant ranting is more likely to prompt a negative NPS action. Are you trying to prompt an action? You know what they say about the squeaky wheel.

By Henry
May 16, 2006

George, don't be quiet for Ken. Being so "level-headed" he will continue to not see the forest through the trees. Viewpoints like his are what cause regulatory agencies to clamp down and leave nothing open to interpretation.

By Lowell Skoog
May 16, 2006

Ken Cangi writes: "I honestly think that non-climbers would consider this childish whining and bickering more offensive than the act itself."

There goes your credibility, Ken.

When the Salt Lake Tribune publishes an editorial or letter to the editor describing how offensive this discussion among climbers is, I hope you will post it right away. And when the Access Fund releases a statement condemming this debate among climbers, I hope you'll post that too.

I'll be waiting.

By Evan Sloane
From: Boulder
May 16, 2006

The bottom line here, in my mind, is that this climb has led to not only the absolute closure of a single formation, but to the realization on behalf of the park service that they "clearly needed to strengthen the rules"(Park superintendent quoted by Malcom Daly). To think that this is just one isolated event that won't influence future climbing management plans seems a bit naive. In a time when we as a community are fighting to preserve access to areas all across the country, what we don't need is for the park service to lay out stricter rules than may be necessary for the sake of clarity. Maybe the wording of the rule did prohibit Dean's climb and maybe it didn't. Maybe Dean was in fact told by a ranger that there was no problem with doing the ascent. The result has been, at best, the isolated closure of climbing areas that were previously open. We as climbers may understand when someone thinks of climbing a rock as a spiritual experience, but the general public I think would equate this to swimming in a public fountain. The reluctance of the players involved (Dean and Patagonia) to recognize that this action may have upset people only furthers the misunderstanding between the climbing community and those who are upset. I feel that an apology to those who felt this act was disrespectful, along with an explanation of what Dean's motivations were (surely not disrespect of the area) would help to strengthen the understanding between the climbing community and the public as well as the park service. After all that is the job description of an "ambassador". We don't want to be nor should we be viewed as a group of folks who feel that our method of enjoying the outdoors outranks everyone else's. Perhaps a response letter to the Salt Lake Tribune editor showing sensitivity and explaining motivation would help to foster understanding and reduce the negative fallout from this short journey up a beautiful formation.

By Adam Stackhouse
Administrator
May 16, 2006

Kudos Lowell and Evan

By Avery N
From: Boulder, CO
May 16, 2006

Ken Cangi wrote: "Grow up, George... childish whining and bickering more offensive than the act itself. In fact, your incessant ranting ..."

This is actually called a 'discussion'. People discuss things here, including differing opinions. It's kind of the point. Totally uncool to make derogatory remarks like this, IMO. To me, it's relatively clear that people are concerned about both public/NPS perception and impacts it could have in future access decisions, moreso than the technicalities. That's why there is the discussion of opinions.

Evan -- I agree that this encourages the thinking by land managers: "give climbers an inch, they'll take a foot", which could likely promote "the park service to lay out stricter rules than may be necessary for the sake of clarity".

Patagonia's response -- pretty darn lame. Seems that these phrases: "We take no position on this one... Dean ...has our complete support" strongly contradict themselves.

By phil broscovak
May 16, 2006

Here is my response to the bulk email Patagonia sent me regarding DP on DR.

With all due respect you are totally WRONG! Dean scrambled through a loop hole in the NPS legalese. The NPS will be sure to clarify the language in the future. How does NO CLIMBING sound? Clear, concise, to the point and unmistakable. What about the use of white chalk? Is there any vagary in their wording on that issue? AND what about the use of a rope for descent? doesn't the use of a rope put this selfish act into the ILLEGAL category? There is much more to this story than a loop hole in the law! And by what standard of interpretation do you state that Dean did NO DAMAGE to Delicate Arch? Were you there? Did you examine the arch personally?What about pulling the rope up and down? NO DAMAGE? Your response seems to be a clear case of CYA (cover your ass). The next time a Red Rocks park rangeracts like a power tripping Nazi to me I will say THANK YOU DEAN! And I will remember, as will vast numbers of gear buying climbers, that Patagonia stood up and applauded Dean with full support!

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
May 16, 2006

Well, at least the gloves are off now, so lets get real about this. I'll start.

Lowell Skoog wrote: "There goes your credibility, Ken."

I've been involved in this sport for thirty years, on numerous levels - sponsored climber, fundraiser, instructor, guide, professional photographer, and as a general lifestyle. I looked at your profile, and I saw basically nothing to validate your assault on my credibility. Moreover, I own a business in Salt Lake, so I am very active in the community. Consequently, I can tell you that this issue isn't nearly as front page around here as some of you are making it out to be, although that could change. What are your qualifications?

Evan Sloane wrote: " In a time when we as a community are fighting to preserve access to areas all across the country, what we don't need is for the park service to lay out stricter rules than may be necessary for the sake of clarity."

This comment sounds a bit ironic, considering how aghast you are about Dean's having climbed this feature. In other words, you are speaking with forked tongue. The rules regarding DA should have been explicit if the NPS did not want to risk what happened. Now they are. Case closed.

Evan Sloan wrote: "We as climbers may understand when someone thinks of climbing a rock as a spiritual experience, but the general public I think would equate this to swimming in a public fountain. The reluctance of the players involved (Dean and Patagonia) to recognize that this action may have upset people only furthers the misunderstanding between the climbing community and those who are upset."

How many members of the general public have you discussed this with, because my experience so far has been that most of the dissent has been expressed in climbing forums like this, by people who aren't even that close to the actual players and/or facts.

Evan Sloan wrote: "I feel that an apology to those who felt this act was disrespectful, along with an explanation of what Dean's motivations were (surely not disrespect of the area) would help to strengthen the understanding between the climbing community and the public as well as the park service. After all that is the job description of an "ambassador"."

Do you actually know who Dean has or hasn't apologized to? It sounds as though you are admonishing Dean to apologize to you just because you decided that he did something wrong. Dean owes you (Evan Sloan) no explanation, and I have the utmost confidence that he will do what is required of him, per his contract.

Avery Nelson wrote: "This is actually called a 'discussion'. People discuss things here, including differing opinions. It's kind of the point. Totally uncool to make derogatory remarks like this, IMO."

You are absolutely correct, which is why some of these posts are so offensive to me. Some of you have judged and convicted Dean without even having privy to all of the facts. A balanced discussion would be refreshing, unlike the witch hunt that is occurring here.

Avery Nelson wrote: "Evan -- I agree that this encourages the thinking by land managers: "give climbers an inch, they'll take a foot", which could likely promote "the park service to lay out stricter rules than may be necessary for the sake of clarity"."

Don't underestimate the intelligence and understanding of the NPS. They have been interacting with climbers since long before you took your first breath, and they will continue to do so for years to come. They are not so naive as to think that this was any more than an isolated incident.

Avery Sloan wrote: "Patagonia's response -- pretty darn lame. Seems that these phrases: "We take no position on this one... Dean ...has our complete support" strongly contradict themselves."

Did it ever occur to you that Dean has their support because they know something that you don't?

Here is what I get from this comment: We nameless climbing bloggers are more informed and more enlightened than Ivon Chouinard, Patagonia, Malcolm Daly, and every other vastly experienced member of the climbing community who isn't willing to blindly defame Dean Potter.

At the risk of repeating myself, it really is time for everyone here to take a deep breath and consider a more reasonable tone for this discussion. The rest is up to you.

KC

By Avery N
From: Boulder, CO
May 17, 2006

Ken, perhaps your own words, below, speak some wisdom. Be it development issues or degradation of public/land manager perception of climbers, the effect is the same on the climbing community:

www.mountainproject.com/v/utah/wasatch_range/big_cottonwood_>>>

"...I said this before and I will repeat it now: The style in which you choose to climb is your business; how your actions affect the ability of others to do so is another story... Nature's cliff's, on the other hand, are a finite natural resource, on which we have been given the privilege of practicing our sport. This fact, by its very existence, is proof that we need to exercise mutual consideration and form a general consensus about how we develop these climbing areas. Anything short of this is self-serving. These cliffs are not public domain, and they are always subject to closure.

Organizations like The Access Fund are busting their humps to preserve our ability to enjoy many threatened areas...

... Selfish is as selfish does, and we ultimately reap what we sow. It is time that we start practicing the rules of responsible climbing, before we lose our opportunity to develop these areas all together.

Think about it. Ken Cangi"

I might add I don't appreciate your personal 'attack' on George or tone with Lowell. Those might be interpreted as violating Guideline #1.

Because of this, I am done debating with you. Hopefully, that is clear.

Regards,
Avery

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
May 17, 2006

"I might add I don't appreciate your personal 'attack' on George or Lowell. Those might be interpreted as violating Guideline #1.

Because of this, I am done debating with you. Hopefully, that is clear."

You are welcome to do as you please, and I will take no offense to your decision, either way. However, you insinuation that I have attacked George or Lowell is absurd. Suggesting that someone grow up, when they have made unsubstantiated accusations about a person's actions and character, is anything but an attack. If it were, half of the population would be guilty of attacking their children, friends, and any number of loved ones. On the topic of attacks, are any of you willing to publicly apologize to Dean for attacking and judging him without first procurring all of the facts?

As for the guideline, if trying to quell a lynch mob mentality makes me a jerk, then I'll happily accept the title.

Regards,

KC

By Ron Olsen
From: Boulder, CO
May 17, 2006

Ken,

If you want to know Lowell Skoog's qualifications, check here: About Lowell Skoog

If you want to know about George Bell, check here: George Bell's Home Page

His father, George I. Bell, Sr., was a member of the 1953 K2 expedition documented in "K2, The Savage Mountain."

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
May 17, 2006

In the spirit of not further inflaming the situation, I will state my position on a few of the matters thus far discussed, and then I will bow out of the discussion.

1) I believe that the rules regarding DA were unclear, and I am inclined to believe that Dean believed that he was not breaking them at the time of his ascent.

2) I am happy, regardless of the source of inspiration, that the rules regarding DA have been made explicit. I am also happy that measures will be taken to preserve this landmark's physical integrity.

3) I am disappointed by how quick to judgment some of you are about your peers. This is becoming an alarming trend in our society - particularly since the introduction of blogging. I guess my shortcoming is that I let it bother me too much.

4) I am never happy about negative confrontations between myself and peers, but I am more uncomfortable with unfair, public attacks on people's character. It makes me hot under the collar, and I sometimes lash out. That is my cross to bare.

Finally) I am constantly trying to find perspective in my life and about the things that affect me, and I am not afraid to apologize when I have been unfair to another. Consequently, I want to apologize to you, George. Hindsight is twenty/twenty, and telling you to grow up was a mistake. You are as entitled to your opinions as am I and every other member of this discussion board. All I am asking is that you all try to reserve judgment on Dean until the dust has cleared and all of the facts are on the table. I believe that such a courtesy to Dean will better represent us as a civilized and reasonable community of climbers. I hope that you can at least agree with me on that one point.

Sincerely,

KC

By Henry
May 17, 2006

""In the spirit of not further inflaming the situation, I will state my position on a few of the matters thus far discussed, and then I will bow out of the discussion.""
Thanks

By Bruce Hildenbrand
May 17, 2006

Ken Cangi writes:

"How many members of the general public have you discussed this with, because my experience so far has been that most of the dissent has been expressed in climbing forums like this, by people who aren't even that close to the actual players and/or facts."
-----------
I was talking about this with one of the editors at Outside Magazine and he told me that they have been getting scores of letters to the editor about Potter's climb and they haven't even run a story on it yet!

Bruce

By phil broscovak
May 17, 2006

Bob you are very correct. I know that this arch was ascended in absolutely pure style, ie; no ropes, no chalk, no press, in the mid seventies. The perpetrator, my best friend, later died in an avalanche in Canada. Dean's Statement that NO ONE reveres rock as much as he does is utterly arrogant self serving BS!
Om mani pahdme hooey!

By Tan Slacks
From: Joshua tree
May 17, 2006

Ken said,

"How many members of the general public have you discussed this with, because my experience so far has been that most of the dissent has been expressed in climbing forums like this, by people who aren't even that close to the actual players and/or facts."

I have read all of your comments up to here and wonder about the above statement the most. As was stated above, Outside magazine will run an article, backpacker, climbing, rock&Ice, etc. and these are just the related journals. My wife teaches at the local high school and this subject was already brought up by her students in her Biology class! Dissent or not, the style or pre-planning of this climb has brought Dean to the center of the light. IMO He knew what he was bringing upon himself. I feel for the groups that wish to promote or maintain access to delicate areas of our wilderness because these actions put them at risk.

Please Ken, Understand that my dissent is meaningless in the big picture. The wrath brought on Dean is by his own "performance" and what that "performance" will bring to the table.

I have known about a previous ascent of the DA and was proud that the person/persons did it in such a way as to make their experience. Too bad Dean used his accent in the way he did.

I'm off the point here. This event WILL generate a large discussion about access outside of the climbing community and where it goes will have to be seen. I look forward to the larger journals getting a response from Patagonia other than the "no position" I received in my email. I hope they hold the company to task. Their policy towards their ambassadors and the pictures they publish (pay for) instigates this type of theater.

By James Dziezynski
May 17, 2006

Upon hearing this news, my first reaction was one of sadness. Now we have to add the beautiful, eons-old Delicate Arch to the list of places "conquered" by humans looking for a "spiritual boost". In the spirit of David Quammen, why is it so important to tame every aspect of wilderness? What is really more spiritual? The Arch isn't a highly technical climb and it's within the ability of countless climbers. There is something to be proud of when we could say that no one had climbed it, not because we lacked the skill but because we respected the notion of the arch as a wild place.

I'm not openly opposed to rogue ascents. In fact, I'm sure Dean wasn't the first person to climb the Arch. Hopefully, the previous ascenders were not as selfish but actually seeking a commune with the rock, a peace known only to themselves and the arch. As a professional climber making his livelihood off his deeds and reputation, it seems fairly logical why Dean would boast of his climb.

While his act was legally ok, it reverberates with a lack of class and respect for every other climber who will now not be allowed to attempt the arch, simply because they are not Dean Potter. Dean has earned his reputation with skill, hard work, and daring, but like any other person transcending normalcy, he felt a need to exert that privilege over those of us lacking his incredible talent. I agree with some of the others here, if it was imperative he climb the Arch, he should have done it in the stealth. Now, the arch will be closed, Dean has his bragging rights, and to what end?

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
May 17, 2006

I was almost bullied out of this forum, because of my position, which, after some thought, caused me to decide that I am not done here. Caveat: For those of you, who don’t like what I have to say, block your ears.

I went to two major climbing stores and one bike shop, today, and I spoke to seven local climbers and three non-climbers. Here is what they had to say, in a nutshell: No Big Deal. In fact, two of them hadn’t even heard of the incident. When I asked those two how often they climb, one said that he climbs three to four days per week. For those of you, who think I am making this up, you are welcome to ask my fiancée, because she was there. Honestly, most of them said that they had no use for these climbing sites, because of all of the spray that takes place within them.

As I said earlier, I live in Utah, I am a veteran climber, and I am an active business owner in the community. My experience here has been that this is not a big deal, both inside and outside of the climbing community. Except for one of the people with whom I spoke, all felt that it was okay with them that the arch is now officially closed, which brings me to my next point.

Some of you have argued that this incident is all the buzz in schools, among magazine editors, etc. Although I am reluctant to believe that this issue is at the forefront of school debate, it is expected that magazines would make this a front-page issue. Afterall, that is what sells magazines, . Climbing magazines would also be the ones likely to receive the most input from climbers throughout the country. It's ironic, considering that the Utah locals are the least upset about it.

Earlier, I tried to make the point that we all needed to calm down and reconsider the lynch mob tone of this forum, to which the responses by some – except for Malcolm’s – were all but hostile. Frankly, I get the impression that the regulars gang up on anyone with an alternative point of view. I may be wrong, but I doubt it.

Some of you made the argument that Dean was somehow more at fault because he announced his ascent. I say: “So, What?” That is how he makes his living, and he maintains that he had permission to make the ascent. Consequently, I see absolutely no problem with that. Dean is already a world-renowned climbing celebrity with a very impressive list of accomplishments on his resume’. Why in the world would he advertise his ascent of a forty-five foot high "5.11" free solo for the purpose of procuring bragging rights? Common sense dictates that such an idea is absurd on the face of it. It is incumbent upon him, as a professional climber, to announce his notable ascents. That is part of the job of a pro climber.

I also heard some comments posted about how he screwed it up for other climbers. How so, unless those climbers had the same intention? Maybe they feel that they won’t be able to sneak out there and climb it themselves. Am I being a smartass? Not really. You can’t have it both ways. The only logical reason that any of you would be upset with DA's having been officially closed is because you want the opportunity to climb it yourself. Otherwise, you would have no problem with its closure.

I will say it one more time for those who haven’t yet absorbed it. Take a deep breath and chill out. I know that climbers like to think that their issues are at the forefront of world concern, but it just ain’t so. This is not the epic catastrophe that you might wish it to be, so get over it. If Dean is not your idea of the ideal ambassador, then adopt one who suits you. There are plenty of them out there.

One last thing: Until today, I believed that these blogs had become representative of the general consensus. After talking to climbers in person, I have concluded that these blogs represent a very small portion of the real story. They mostly consist of people who feel the need to have a voice. Maybe beating up on accomplished climbers like Dean makes them feel more significant?

Carry on.

KC

By Henry
May 18, 2006

KC ""Honestly, most of them said that they had no use for these climbing sites, because of all of the spray that takes place within them.""
I think you should side with them ken
KC ""As I said earlier, I live in Utah, I am a veteran climber, and I am an active business owner in the community""
I own three businesses which grossed over 25 million in Q4 of 05 across three states including Utah, therefore my word is more gospel.
KC"" It's ironic, considering that the Utah locals are the least upset about it.""
All four at the climbing store...hahaha
KC""reconsider the lynch mob tone of this forum....AND...the regulars gang up on anyone with an alternative point of view. I may be wrong, but I doubt it""
Yup, that's "us" alright. We are out to get ya KC!
KC""I also heard some comments posted about how he screwed it up for other climbers. How so, unless those climbers had the same intention?""
Haven't you figured that out yet? You read everything else very closely but you missed that one?
KC""I know that climbers like to think that their issues are at the forefront of world concern, but it just ain�t so""
Hence your minimalist response to this.....
KC""so get over it""
You go first Ken
KC""Maybe beating up on accomplished climbers like Dean makes them feel more significant?""
That hurt so good, it hit me right in the sphincter...yum...
And finally....
KC""In the spirit of not further inflaming the situation, I will state my position on a few of the matters thus far discussed, and then I will bow out of the discussion.""
promises promises.....hahahaha

By Chris Weber
From: Boulder, CO
May 18, 2006

Below is Patagonia's response to my letter (posted earlier--see above), and my response to their letter.

Hello,

Thank you for writing us with your concerns. 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."

Again, we thank you for your time and your opinion.

Patagonia
--------------------------------------------------------------------
My response to Patagonia:

Dear Patagonia,
This is a weak response. I expect more from a company that prides itself on ethics. If I, an average-Joe climber, know that arches are off-limits, then so surely does a professional climber living in Moab, the capital of arches. It's not like he flew in from Tasmania. Secondly, if Potter didn't know it was illegal when he did it, he knew it was illegal when he started promoting himself and the ascent. So he shouldn't have promoted it. Lastly, this ascent cannot be seen as the same as the historic conflicts you allude to in the Tetons and Yosemite. Is Patagonia going to start a campaign to open all arches to climbing? Do you really want to take that stand? The ramifications on the environment--complete destruction of the natural formations--are obvious. Unless you're want to argue that a select few--Patagonia-sponsored--climbers can make the ascents, then clearly arguing that this is even a debatable issue is wrong. But maybe you want to promote lines at the base of arches and see how long they last? The debates over pitons scarring rock, the impact of campgrounds on valley floors, are obviously more legitimate that the crumbling of entire formations.

-Chris Weber
Boulder, Colorado

By john parsons
May 18, 2006

Phil Broscovak is right on the money. He failed to mention your "slackline" episode in Arches which resulted in a similar admonishment from the BLM...! You knew better and still chose to disgracefully promote and market yourself.

Dean you are too good of a climber and too conscientious to sell your soul for self promotion.

I for one will not buy any Patagonia product until an apology is provided the trade journals and appropriate newspapers.

Hows that for action..?

By Evan Sloane
From: Boulder
May 18, 2006

Ken C.-
Let me say first that I appreciate you arguing in support of Dean's climb, there is no point in having a discussion forum that is just an echo chamber.

You write "The rules regarding DA should have been explicit if the NPS did not want to risk what happened. Now they are. Case closed."
Agreed, the rules should have been explicit and they were not explicit enough. I think that my fear of the NPS reacting by making the rules undeniably clear in areas (i.e. No Climbing), is, however, valid.

Ken also writes "...my experience so far has been that most of the dissent has been expressed in climbing forums like this, by people who aren't even that close to the actual players and/or facts."
I hope you are right. I hope we are making a much bigger deal out of this than it really is. The fact that there have been at least 2 features in the Salt Lake Tribune and a cartoon (on the SLT webpage 5/18 at least) makes me wonder. Only time will tell if this becomes a wider story. My concern is that this is another example that can be used put climbers in a bad light.

I earlier called for an apology/explanation from Dean and Ken replied, "Do you actually know who Dean has or hasn't apologized to? It sounds as though you are admonishing Dean to apologize to you just because you decided that he did something wrong. Dean owes you (Evan Sloan) no explanation, and I have the utmost confidence that he will do what is required of him, per his contract."
Obviously I don't know who Dean has or has not apologized to, but there hasn't been any publicized response that I've seen (apart from the initial interviews). And keep in mind I don't think he needs to apologize for the actual climb, but for the ill will it has generated and as an opportunity to lay out his side of the story. I think we would both agree that what's missing here is Dean's point of view. From what I know of him, my guess would be that he had good intentions, but I wouldn't have to guess if there was a response. I hope that Dean will do what is required of him, not just by his contract, but in the effort of preserving access and minimizing impact that is the responsibility of every one of us regardless of skill and experience.

My point here is not that I think Dean should be punished, but that this is a situation that has the potential to go bad and he is in a position to try and prevent that. Why not try to use this attention as a way to inform the non-climbing public about some of why we climb instead of letting the impression reign that we're just a bunch of careless and destructive thrillseekers?

By Mike Ben
From: silverthorne/denver
May 18, 2006

I thought it was made clear that Dean climbed the arch legaly. Looks like it to me. I was at the arch the afternoon, just killing time, after the alleged incident took place. I gave the arch a good look, just like any climber would looking for possible holds and wondereing if anyone had ever climbed it. I saw absolutely no chalk or sign of anyone besides little rugrats trying to climb the arch. I think it is seems like the climbers in Boulder are much more concerned about this symbol of the mormon state than the people in Moab or in Utah. I've been in and around Moab for two weeks now and this is the first news I have heard of the climb. I believe this thread is making a huge deal out of this very insignificant news story. Only the arches in the National park are off limits by the way. I climbed Jug handle arch later in the week and even clipped a few bolts. Where were all of the media and controversy. All I saw was some semis haulin ass up potash.

By Tom Rutkowski
May 18, 2006

Wow, I have to agree that the tone of this email thread is pretty acerbic. My two cents:

When I saw Dean’s photo, my reaction was “Sweet, Dean had free soloed yet another nice piece of rock”.

THE CLIMB WAS NOT ILLEGAL. If one takes the legality of the ascent literally, I’m not too sure what all the fuss is about. Maybe folks feel the Delicate Arch is sacred because it’s on the Utah license plate but that doesn’t count for too much to me. If the DA is sacred, what about recurring violations of climbing closures at Devils Tower and Ship Rock?

Yep, he publicized the photo rather than savoring the experience on his own…but isn’t that what we average-Joes do on the very website.

As for Ed Abbey’s take on the matter I think he would be proud of Dean. Ed advocated getting out from behind the windshield, walking, picking up and smelling some dirt to truly appreciate our national parks. Dean happens to have the skills to smell and enjoy vertical rock, unroped. Anyway, I’m pretty sure Ed would have written off the park after the road extension they paved so that one could view the DA from a parking lot…just as Ed had predicted they would. This new road actually would have put the DA within striking distance of one of Ed’s drunken tears through the desert.

Buck up Weber, I think you’re a rad climber.

By Dave Gloudemans
May 18, 2006

Kudos to whomever climbed it in EBs or barefoot or whatever in the 70s and didn't publish the fact.

I'll take exception to the quote which, though a grammatical slip, shines light on the self-reverence involved:

As he says, "No one reveres rocks more than me."


Can I be the first to assert that I revere all rocks more than I revere the speaker. And he thinks no one does.

By John McNamee
Administrator
From: Littleton, CO
May 19, 2006

Well, it looks like Dean's little climb did have an impact. There is now no new fixed anchors allowed.

See page of the 2006 Arches Compendium...

www.nps.gov/arch/pphtml/documents.html

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
May 19, 2006

Here is a quote by ProfessorFate, in Supertopo, which I believe warrants serious consideration before you send Dean down in a ball of flames.

ProfessorFate wrote: "Too quick to be exclusively a reaction. Bureaucracies do not move that fast. They were waiting to do it. They just used Dean-gate as the catalyst/excuse."

Now is especially not the time for visceral, knee-jerk accusations like: "Thanks, Dean."

By kBobby
From: Spokane, WA
May 19, 2006

So that Ken's voice isn't singular, I will state for the record that I personally don't care.

I have to ask myself "what is the worst thing a person can do? ... what is the worst thing a person can do while climbing rocks? ... how does this compare to either of those? ... where's my beer?"

For those of you who have visited Arches and have seen Delicate Arch, did you think any of the following to yourself:
(a) That would sure be fun to climb.
(b) That sure was fun to climb.
(c) What a pile, no one should ever climb that.
(d) What a pile, I wish I never climbed that.
(e) How spectacular, I hope no one climbs it.
(f) How spectacular, I hope no one bolts it.
(g) How spectacular, where's my bolt kit?
(i) The underside goes at A2+ or C3.
(j) What a totally spiritual experience, freeing me from my inane desire to climb rocks.

Contrast this issue (a ban on all new bolting and *gasp* slacklining in Arches) with the issue of possible exploratory drilling in federally "protected" wilderness areas not too far from the park in question. While I don't economically support Patagucci to begin with (I don't run a 25-godzillion-dollars-per-quarter business across 67 states; I earn considerably less), I would be hesitant to come down too hard on them regarding the Dean Potter issue. It is my understanding that regarding most (actual) environmental issues, Patagonia is more or less right on. See

www.patagonia.com/enviro/main_enviro_action.shtml

(granted, it is their site, but the first title under About Patagonia is Environmental Action).

Expecting Patagonia to make a sizable donation to the Access Fund in recompence? The company has contributed in excess of $10,000 per year since 1992. That certainly is more than I have, I won't throw that stone.

By Larry LeVoir
May 19, 2006

Let's get all the discussion here:
response to prof. fate by bvb:

Too quick to be exclusively a reaction. Bureaucracies do not move that fast. They were waiting to do it. They just used Dean-gate as the catalyst/excuse.

i have to disagree. i've been working for the park service for 21 years, and have been in division chief level or higher positions for 14 years. certain superintendents can and will act with lightning swiftness if the need arises. my feeling is this is due purely to dean's actions. if they wanted the park to go hammerless, they would not have waited for an "excuse". they simply would have made it so.

there is much, much more to this story. i wonder how long it will be before the other shoe drops....

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
May 19, 2006

Larry,

Doesn't it seem a bit odd to you that the nps would specifically ban nailing and placing anchors on towers as punishment for one person's free solo of DA? Moreover, wouldn't you agree that punishing the entire climbing community for the - at best - questionable actions of one to be excessive?

I'm not buying it, Larry, just as I didn't buy Bush's excuse for invading Iraq. As a park service official, you could have posted something more informative and enlightening than that.

Forget trying to dismantle my argument. You can't, unless you are willing to advocate convicting someone and punishing the entire climbing community before he is actually guilty of a crime.

By phil broscovak
May 19, 2006

Ken
Your arguments reek of the same double speak that the republicans use to justify their illegal activities. Take your own advice and chill out. If you think people have to have an impressive resume to have a right to be critical of Dean go ahead and ask about me.
No one is trying to send Dean down in flames. They are just very unhappy with the potential ramifications of his (ILLEGAL) indiscretion. T H A N K S D E A N ! ! !

By Larry LeVoir
May 19, 2006

Ken

It was not me who wrote that. I just wanted to include the response of one closer to the nps.

I'm not trying to dismantle your argument. By saying I can't dismantle does show a little bit of a closed mind.

It doesn't matter whether your argument is valid. What matters is the repurcussions from the event.

It doesn't matter if the response from the NPS is correct. What matters is that future climbers have to live with that response.

We can't change what happened, so it really doesn't matter if what Dean did was wrong or right.

As for what Phil said, I think the only qualifications one needs to speak their mind is a voice. All those idiot politicians went to school and have been in congress for years. They still don't have a clue, yet they speak about things they have no clue about.

By phil broscovak
May 19, 2006

Thank you Larry

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
May 19, 2006

Phil,

Your post makes no sense - none. Sight an example of this alleged double speak. Trust me, Phil. If this were you on the firing line, and you knew that you were being unjustly hammered, you would be thankful for my position.

By Henry
May 19, 2006

KC""In the spirit of not further inflaming the situation, I will state my position on a few of the matters thus far discussed, and then I will bow out of the discussion.""
When?

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
May 20, 2006

Larry wrote: “It was not me who wrote that. I just wanted to include the response of one closer to the nps.”

Please accept my apology for the mistake.

Larry wrote: “It doesn't matter whether your argument is valid. What matters is the repurcussions from the event.”

The repercussions (new restrictions) from Dean’s ascent should be held in question by the entire climbing community for the simple reason that they are not justified. They have no direct relationship to his alleged indiscretion. As I asked earlier: What does the banning of nailing and installing anchors on towers have to do with this incident? I’ll answer that. Nothing! Therefore, why invoke such a harsh penalty on all climbers, unless the NPS had been waiting for an excuse to do so all along?

If such an impetuous call-to-arms tactic is, as the service official from SuperTopo suggested, a common tactic among the park officials, then the system and those official’s judgment are flawed and should be carefully re-evaluated.

Larry wrote: “It doesn't matter if the response from the NPS is correct. What matters is that future climbers have to live with that response.”

I beg to differ. Unjustified moratoriums and punishment absolutely matter, and they should be addressed.

Larry wrote: “We can't change what happened, so it really doesn't matter if what Dean did was wrong or right.”

Again – of course it matters, because the moratoriums will have been unjustly attributed to Dean if it becomes proven that he broke no written rules at the time of his ascent, which seems to be the case. My advice to you all, in that event, would be to raise a stink with the park service and the local government.

KC

By Henry
May 20, 2006

Healyje wrtoe:

Actually I think it was a butt-stupid commercial ploy gone bad and that we are all in fact are going to pay the price no matter what Dean or Patagonia say or do. The climbing world has travelled way down the commercial road in my thirty two years of climbing and a requisite cost of that journey is that some folks living off of climbing are going to occasionally lose all perspective and judgment for a long enough to pull a boner, self-agrandizing advertising stunt like this one from time to time. This is exactly the sort of thing the Harding participated in and predicted in Downward Bound - that climbers and not climbs would become the [commercial] focus of [our rapt] attention. Land managers aren't stupid; stunts like this will simply make them understand that we're no longer just a bunch of hairy wild men in girlish tights - that climbing is now another semi-sophisticated commercial user group with attorneys, media, and financial interests in tow seeking access to resources under their control.

Ditto

By Larry LeVoir
May 20, 2006

Ken
I agree the unjustified new restrictions will have to be addressed. And people should contact the NPS with their concerns.

Maybe the NPS will back off after further discussion.

Of the climbing community wouldn't have to address it if Deans ascent hadn't gotten so much publicity.

By GoBotRocker
From: Spfld, Ma
May 20, 2006

I myself would have chosen to NOT climb a thing that might yet again throw a negative spotlight onto climbers and climbing.

It's my place in the community to make good choices for the future of climbing.

By Bradfordclimber
May 20, 2006

This is one long thread, so here's my short (hopefully) 2 cents worth.

It is called "ARCHES" NP, isn't it? NOT "CLIMBING ARCHES" NP, or "CLIMBER'S" NP. And you know why? It's about the arches man not about the small user community of climbers doing whatever they want, whenever they want.

I went climbing in Arches 12 years ago, at that time the regulations stated in writing, "no climbing permitted on any arches," and I was told verbally at the visitor's center that I couldn't climb any arch. And NO I WAS NOT LOOKING TO CLIMB ANY ARCH I KNEW BETTER THAN THAT. I'm a native Utahn, you don't climb any arches and I sure didn't want to. They're just for looking. It seems strange to me that between now and then those regulations have somehow strangely muddied up or become vague so that one can climb any arch (especially the most famous arch!) by claiming ambiguity or a loophole.

Further, I cannot understand the mindset of someone wanting to climb DA, especially a longtime Moab resident like Dean. Hasn't he seen that arch on all the license plates and in pictures everywhere and in state sponsored publications for promoting tourism? Isn't it obvious this is a feature that's held in high regard by many?

Also, consider the very nature of the sandstone in ANP; it's fragile people, very fragile. It wears away easily, and how much pressure does a climber put on a hold when he stands on it or pulls up? 100, 200, 300, 400+ lbs.? How much does that really weaken or wear away the rock Dean? And I'm assuming you wore your sticky rubber climbing shoes, how much of the soles wore off on the rock?

Secondly, I'm reading in this thread about the indifferent "buzz" among climbers in the SLC area where I live. All the local climbers I've talked to have said this was a bad thing and poor judgement on Dean's part. That seems the consensus to me, the same goes for this forum. Also, I think people made up their minds long before they ever posted on this forum about the wrongness of his actions and the whys.

I haven't talked to anyone who's supported this incident. One climber brought up the point, "Why didn't he just do it with no one around and no photography?" I don't agree with that POV, but if he wanted attention he sure got it. Then again, so did climbers everywhere.

IMHO this incident fosters and furthers a negative public opinion of climbers as reckless and indifferent to any stated rules or regulations from the larger society we're all a part of. And don't you know a lot of people see us as "crazy, thrill seekers" anyway? (FYI, no I don't care what others "think" of me or my climbing, but that doesn't mean I can climb anywhere, anytime.)

Further, I believe it could result in more difficult access issues in a country where more land gets locked up by development, sprawl, and liability. Where does that leave us?

Where's the positive in all of this? One person's experience of climbing a national landmark for the sake of hawking Yvon Chouinard's overpriced goods? Was it really that important to you Dean?

Just because you and I climb doesn't mean we can climb anywhere, anytime we want to. Sometimes the answer is "NO" people. That's a part of life. I also think it's part of living in a society- you live by the laws and rules of that society whether you like them or not. Did it ever dawn on anyone there's a reason for these rules?

Lastly, did it ever occur to anyone that maybe, just maybe Delicate Arch means a lot more to a whole lot more people (millions more) than just a place where 1 person can climb? If you don't believe that, think how many people come from all over the world to see that arch and others like it. Climbers may not like that but it's not always about what one person wants, is it?

By Adam Stackhouse
Administrator
May 20, 2006

Well said Bradford. With one or two verbose exceptions, I think all of us in this forum understand what went on there, and the lack of foresight and respect that occurred.

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
May 20, 2006

ATS wrote: “Well said Bradford. With one or two verbose exceptions, I think all of us in this forum understand what went on there, and the lack of foresight and respect that occurred. “

ATS,

Insulting those of us with a more rational view does little to validate your argument.

What do you actually know about how much or little forethought preceded Dean’s decision to free solo Delicate Arch? You seem to speak only from a climber’s mindset, which places you squarely in the minority. “When you say: I think all of us in this forum understand what went on there” you are not saying much, as this forum represents no more than a microcosm of opinion.

Had you read and comprehended the sum of my posts, you would have realized that I advocate the explicit closure of DA – not because I feel that it is somehow a sacred landmark, but because I believe that such rules should be either explicit or not exist at all. One could argue that the majestic walls of Yosemite Valley are infinitely more recognizable as a landmark, yet climbers have no problem garnishing them with fixed ropes and tattered slings, as well as constantly dropping bags of excrement and various other forms of garbage onto the valley floor below. Do you think that tourists, who travel from across the planet to experience the views, appreciate being greeted by some dirtbag climber’s reconstituted happy meal?

What you obviously fail to realize is that there is more to this than your selfish and transparent quest to keep climbers under the radar of nebulous rules and regulations. Dean believed – loophole or not – that he was within his rights to climb DA. If he was mistaken, then he actually did every one of us a favor by alerting the park service to that loophole. By closing that loophole, Dean has helped to make the rules clear to all future climbers. I see that as a productive development.

As for Laura Joss’s using Dean’s ascent as an excuse to invoke harsh and non-related regulations, I find that nothing short of excessive and irresponsible, and I believe that Ms. Joss should be made to publicly qualify her actions. This smells to me like she already had those regulations on the table and was looking for a reason to invoke them, or that Ms. Joss perceived Dean’s act and a direct challenge to her authority, and so she flexed her muscle to show him and all climbers who is boss. Either way, her actions were excessive and do not represent what I consider to be the appropriate function of the National Parks Service.

KC

By Adam Stackhouse
Administrator
May 20, 2006

KC you can spew all you want, comparison shop bad things vs. bad things, and, as per your MO, call people names, but I stand by what I said, and believe it to be true. Anyway actions speak louder than words...

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
May 20, 2006

ATS,

Feel free to debate the issues.

By Steve "Crusher" Bartlett
May 20, 2006

Climbing in the national parks of southern Utah requires a respectful attitude to both the rock and the rangers. Treat the rock carelessly and it bites back. Same with the NPS.

It is, and always has been obvious that the longstanding INTENT of the Arches regulations has been to ban climbing on named features. And Delicate Arch is obviously the most sensitive feature in the park.

This sudden rule change in Arches is clearly a direct reaction to the recent Delicate Arch ascent. To claim otherwise is to compound the damage already done to climber/NPS relations.

I have heard that there is pressure to ban climbing in Arches altogether. Losing nailing/bolting privileges is one thing, losing all climbing in Arches would be very sad. It is a good idea for the Arches rangers (Laura Joss is head ranger) to hear from climbers who are, like me, embarrassed by this whole episode. If you phone or send an email, please be courteous and polite.

By Dave Wachter
May 21, 2006

No laws were broken. No kittens died. So, no harm done, Dean should be celebrated for pulling a fast one on the Park Service and all the other ego-pumped climbers who are now kicking themselves for not finding the "loophole" first. Right?

Hopefully not. I think time will tell that style still counts in climbing, and we will choose our own "Ambassadors," based not only on showmanship, but also on charisma and ethics. Was the DA climb worthy of praise, a climb of noble vision? Or was it simply an ego-driven compulsion fueled by dreams of full-page photospreads? Will purists celebrate Potter over time the way they will no doubt continue to look up to such inspirational climbers as Chris Sharma, Tommy Caldwell, Beth Rodden, Lynn Hill, and David Graham? Or will they see him as a self-aggrandizing and inconsiderate slob (albeit with more talent than he knows what to do with)?

And shame on Patagonia for holding out the advertizing carrot to the likes of Potter. And for such shenanigans as giving octogenarian Stimson Bulitt a shirt to wear for his lead of Illusion Dweller, only to snatch it back once they'd snapped his pic for an ad (remember that, folks?). It was clever of their PR department to invoke the wild old Yosemite days in distancing themselves from ethics in this case, but they're not fooling me. Ethics do count. And they had better wake up - with superior competitors like Arcterix and Marmot, image may be the only thing keeping them in business.

By Adam Stackhouse
Administrator
May 21, 2006

An email I recieved from a "man" calling himself Ken :""Because you have nothing intelligent to contribute to the discussion, and would rather nip at my ankles, I feel no compuntion in telling you that you are acting like a moron. I'm Emailing you in the interest of sparing the rest of the participants more of your incoherent babbling.

Feel free to slither back into the bog from whence you came; you won't be missed.""

Thank you Ken for living up to your recognized nature of being a petty name caller. You could have let it go with your last post reply to me in this forum but no....Instead of trying to be a thug, why don't you climb some routes, take some pictures and contribute some route and beta info to this website? (I read through many of your comments over the course of the past year, and I'm not the first person you hurled crap at.) You obviously have plenty of time and energy, so try using it in a more positive light. It's ok to do that you know, for without this website whom would you have to listen to you? Please don't send me anymore emails.

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
May 21, 2006

ATS,

Your posts have been offensive. You and Henry have continually insulted me for not joining in on the which hunt.

Now you have posted a private Email - and I was taking bets that you would - which proves that you are more interested in flaming me than in intelligently and maturely discussing the issue. Your need for attention is getting tiresome.

Here it is: I meant everything that I said in that Email. You are adding nothing productive to this discussion. I haven't attacked the messenger once, except that I made the unfortunate mistake of telling George to grow up. Upon quickly realizing that I had been unfair to him, I publicly apologized. That is what adults do.

I am done talking to you both, and I intend to remain in the forum. If you don't like that - Too Bad. If you continue singling me out for your childish game, I am filing a complaint to the administrators. This topic is too important to turn it into a flamefest. If anything, this type of nonesense degrades the credibility of climbers to handle their own affairs.

Now - back off.

By Adam Stackhouse
Administrator
May 21, 2006

""Your posts have been offensive."" No they haven't. If one reads this thread in its entirety, one would see who stands as being "offensive." Other threads you have been involved in have a similar theme. That's too bad, and I take pity.... Moreover, the administrators read this stuff just as soon as it gets posted, so they know whats going on dude...Anyway, in summation, and to bring this full circle, based on given info, I still think DP did a dumb thing. Period. It is clearly evident that most folks believe so as well.

By GoBotRocker
From: Spfld, Ma
May 21, 2006

Hmmmmmmmm, deep breath, release, relax, let go with the claws...
My own process of maturing hasn't gone as fast as I or others might like, but I do know that we all mature at our own rate and really cannot force anyone else to grow up. But I can E-mail the ranger Laura Joss (hope I got that right) and affirm to her that I am embarrassed and bummed by the recent actions by Mr. Potter.

The extra Hoopla on this thread just creates a pattern of division between us. Some patterns aren't really worth pursuing.

My last thought is Memorial day is near and "I just wanna Climb", cept here in New England I might need a wet suit to do it.

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
May 21, 2006

ATS wrote: "Your posts have been offensive."" No they haven't. If one reads this thread in its entirety, one would see who stands as being "offensive." Other threads you have been involved in have a similar theme. That's too bad, and I take pity...."

If you are referring to the thread in which I was trying to enlighten the Salt Lake climbing community to the dangerous nature of the double-rope traverse, at The Slips" then you are "again" completely off the mark. The local news just reported - five minutes ago - that a fifteen year old girl fell from them and drowned.

This was an unnecessary tragedy, and I partly blame the climbing community for being so self-centered in its refusal to at least remove the lower rope. I blame myself most of all for that young girls's death, because I didn't chop it down last year. Instead, because I was new in the community, I caved in to the local consensus. That won't happen again. When I told you all that this was bound to happen, SOONER or later, I received the same narrow-minded attacks that I have experienced here.

I have decided to remove the lower rope, if it hasn't already been removed by the authorities.

By Lowell Skoog
May 22, 2006

The key to understanding this issue is to think politically. In politics, there is a concept called "optics." It refers to how an action appears to a casual observer, never mind the underlying principles. Optics overwhelm principles in a situation like this.

The optics of Dean Potter's Delicate Arch climb, his quest for publicity, and his lack of contrition have been terrible for climbers. The new climbing restrictions imposed by NPS should be no surprise to anybody who has been thinking about this issue like a politician (and not solely as a climber).

That's why I condemmed Potter's climb after reading the first news reports. And why I don't care much about his specific motivations. They don't matter. They don't affect the optics of the situation. Unfortunately, the time has pretty much passed when Potter could do anything (such as apologize) to improve the situation.

By John McNamee
Administrator
From: Littleton, CO
May 22, 2006

Let's just try to be civil to each other and treat everyone as we would like to be treated!

And by the way "administrators" have lives as well and don't spend all of our time reading every comment posted on the site!

By John McNamee
Administrator
From: Littleton, CO
May 22, 2006

Link to current discussion on supertopo

www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=197165&f=0&b>>>

By Chris Perkins
From: Avon, Colorado
May 23, 2006

This is a letter I sent to Patagonia.
This wouldn't have been such a big deal if it had not been a publicity stunt and spread like wildfire through the press and ended up on the desk of the Department of the Interior. But since it did the relations between climbers and resource managers will take a long time to heal if they ever heal.

I think that Dean is an amazing climber, but he lost my respect by endangering climbing access to so many who have been trying for years to maintain good relations with resource managers.
I see this as similar to;
-the U.S. is great, we have a lot of support throughout the world, G-DUB invades Iraq, World now sees us in a bad light, sets us back, instead of just a few crazies hating us everyone hates us.
-Climbers/Access fund are great, we have a lot of support and are respected for good work and conservation, Potter climbs and promotes lame, blatant disregard for climbing restrictions, Resource managers look at us in a bad light. Sets us way back! instead of a few seasonal closers, several permanent closures.

I will not buy any products from Patagonia until Potter is released as an ambassador. I will tell everyone I know and I will post this on www.Mountainproject.com

Thanks,
Chris Perkins
Access Fund Member since 1996

By Bruce Hildenbrand
May 24, 2006

There are two threads on this subject on mountainproject.com happening simultaneously. Here is something I posted on the other thread from Jimmie Dunn which was excerpeted from Supertopo.com:


This is for those climbers who accept Dean Potter's ascent of Delicate Arch. I've been fortunate enough to have climbed and hiked in the canyon country for 37 years and I still do. Dean is a very good friend of mine. We have climbed some good routes together and even climbed in Arches together. I consider him a high quality person and a rad climber and he is for nature. Dean's ascent of Delicate Arch may not have been against the law because of a loophole, but this is not the issue.

Dean broke a trust that we climbers had with the Park Service to not climb the arches. Instead we left them for the ravens. We were allowed to climb the towers, the walls, the boulders, do new routes, and even place bolts with a hand drill if needed. Just stay off the arches! This ascent shows the Park Service that we may need rules on paper in big letters. This is not good.

I've climbed the Three Gossips many times and always seem to have some sort of spiritual experience up there. The Gossips know this...but they're not talking...Jimmie Dunn

By Brad Brandewie
May 25, 2006

Ken Cangi wrote...

"Some of you made the argument that Dean was somehow more at fault because he announced his ascent. I say: “So, What?” That is how he makes his living, and he maintains that he had permission to make the ascent."


I submit this as the most ignorant thing I have ever read online... can anyone top it?

Ken, if you really consider yourself open minded, go re-read the first paragraph of Crusher's post... it sums up the situation perfectly.

Brad

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
May 25, 2006

Brad,

If that is the most ignorant thing that you have read online, then you clearly haven't read much at all.

Can you prove that he didn't receive permission from a park official? Moreover, please show us where he has officially been indicted of a crime. Otherwise, yours is the ignorant statement.

His action is not automatically wrong because some climbers and park officials aren't happy with it.

This topic is beat. Go climb, and get over it. All that has happened is that DA is now officially closed, as it should have been in the first place. As for the other new restrictions, They don't correlate to Dean's solo, so I can only assume that NPS had been looking for an excuse to invoke them all along.

BTW - Assuming that you know what I have or haven't read makes you look short-sighted, at best. If you read everything that I've posted on this topic, then my actual point should have been clear to you.

By Bruce Hildenbrand
May 25, 2006

Dean Potter slacklined on the Three Gossips over a month ago and the NPS had to modify their regs to outlaw it. Next, Dean climbed Delicate Arch and the NPS had to modify their regs to make it clear that it was illegal.

I can clearly see a scenario where the NPS realizes after these two incidents that all their regulations in the Arches are either poorly written and/or out of date and they can't wait for somebody to skate through the next loophole. It is a fact that the NPS was flooded with anti-climbing sentiment after the DA ascent and in this scenario, when they realize they are not in control of the situation they react and react quickly.

As several people have pointed out the NPS adopted basically the same regs as are in effect at Canyonlands and they also commented that they will be working on coming up with a more lasting plan.

What all this says to me is that Dean Potter's actions on the Three Gossips and Delicate Arch gave the NPS the feeling that their climbing regs did not adequately represent what the NPS wanted and that after two public and very controversial actions by one individual it was time to act and bring the situation under control.

Bruce

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
May 25, 2006

Bruce,

Whether or not you realize it, you are now getting to the heart of the real issue. This has been NPS's attitude the entire time, and it was only a matter of time and an excuse - any excuse - to implement their real agenda.

This is why I said that we should be directing our attention on them -
not Dean. He is a very small fish in the scheme of things. Making him a scapegoat is a complete waste of time.

Acquiescing to NPS's whims will do little toward preserving climber access. The climbing community needs to open intelligent and rational dialogue with them. You want to play, then earn it.

Climbers, myself included, have been getting a free ride for far too long, and look at how we have behaved. Most of this nation's rock formations have been turned into bolt-riddled, glorified gymnasiums. Even magnificent landmarks like Yosemite have been turned into a climber's version of Six Flags. And we say that we are the most thoughtful naturalists.

Hey, I am a climber. I am all for continued access, although I have been around this sport long enough to realize that its increasing popularity is going to cause higher impact issues in places like Arches, et al. This is why explicit rules need to be drafted and made clear to everyone. Those regulations will eventually become active with or without our input, so my advice is: There is no better time than the present to get personally involved in the process.

By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
May 25, 2006

I have to agree with Ken. The hysteria about potential climbing closures that pervades all these comments is misplaced. Stop and think for a second about the NPS banning climbing throughout Arches (let alone in other parks as several have suggested!) because of one incident on the part of one climber, that did no damage to the resource and didn't result in a citation. That wouldn't be remotely reasonable; in fact, it would be outrageous. Which is why I don't think it will happen, wary as I am of NPS bureaucracy.

If non-climbers are really calling en masse (which is a little hard to believe) for the park service to ban climbing, I think that is equally ridiculous. I worked in Rocky Mountain National Park for several summers, and have spent much time in Canyonlands and Arches. One sees no end of tourists violating clear rules, repeatedly engaging in activities that have a very real negative impact on the resource: feeding and harrassing wildlife, trampling on tundra and crytobiotic soil, creating erosional gullies by shortcutting trails, etc. The park service, of course, would never dream of closing Bear Lake, Trail Ridge Road, the Delicate Arch trail, et al due to any of these recurrent and common violations. Yet one climber makes one minimal impact ascent, and suddenly the sky is falling, even though there is no pattern at all of rule
breaking on the part of climbers.

Why is everyone in such a panic about this? Are we as climbers afraid that our everyday activities can't stand up to scrutiny on their own?


P.S. to Phil Broscavak. I have enjoyed all the contributions you have made to this website over the last few years (especially the Black Canyon stuff), but you are really going over the top in these threads. You should look back at some of your posts--the vitriol is beyond belief and borders on libelous at times. You are certainly entitled to your opinion as is anyone else, but your diatribes and the constant invective are what really elevate this to an on-line lynch mob more than anything. Short of Dean's close friends I don't think anyone is privy to what his motivations and spiritual experiences, or lack thereof, consisted of that day.

By Henry
May 25, 2006

Charles said "Why is everyone in such a panic about this?" I don't think people are so much in a panic, they're just reacting to an event and reacting to other people's reaction to their opinions expressed about the event. Some replies seem to be more condescending than others (you know who you are!), so you can expect a bit of emotion from the postings...

By Brad Brandewie
May 26, 2006

Ken,

Perhaps I was not clear enough about what I found ridiculous in your post which I quoted. For the record I don't care that he climbed the thing. All I care about is access for the rest of us. The vast majority of folks seem to believe that it was poor judgement to publish and promote the event.

When you say...

"Some of you made the argument that Dean was somehow more at fault because he announced his ascent. I say: “So, What?” That is how he makes his living, and he maintains that he had permission to make the ascent."

I am forced to conclude that you are ignorant as to the delicate nature of the relationship between climbers and the Arches NPS. There was a trust that was broken. Now access has been limited and you say "so what", and contend that one has nothing to do with the other. Well, after my conversation with Laura Joss, I would have to call bullshit on that logic.


Then in response you wrote...

"All that has happened is that DA is now officially closed, as it should have been in the first place. As for the other new restrictions, They don't correlate to Dean's solo, so I can only assume that NPS had been looking for an excuse to invoke them all along."

If you believe that, then I stand by my statement that you are ignorant about some of the aspects of this situation. The NPS doesn't need an excuse to adopt a set of rules that is fast becoming the standard for NPS units in this area.

Brad

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
May 26, 2006

Brad,

I am ignorant about none of it. You clearly aren't hearing what I've said.

The sensitive relationship between the NPS and the climbing community, in the context in which some of you are portraying it, is a farce. I contend that the rules were nebulous, at best, and that they needed to be clarified. Now they are.

After three decades in this sport, as guide, instructor, sponsored climber, and professional sports photographer, I believe that I have a pretty clear understanding of how sensitive relationships between climbers and land officials can be.

I understand your personal concern for access, but I don't think you quite see the entire picture.

By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
May 26, 2006

Brad,

What kind of trust could possibly have existed between climbers and the NPS if all it takes, from the latter's perspective, is one (ultimately harmless) act on the part of a single climber to break it?

Let's say that we fully accept the concerns of the NPS regarding Dean's Delicate Arch climb. I still fail to see any reason why this should be an indictment of the climbing community as a whole....unless of course, we have something to hide.

By phil broscovak
May 27, 2006

Charles Vernon wrote:

P.S. to Phil Broscavak. I have enjoyed all the contributions you have made to this website over the last few years (especially the Black Canyon stuff), but you are really going over the top in these threads. You should look back at some of your posts--the vitriol is beyond belief and borders on libelous at times. You are certainly entitled to your opinion as is anyone else, but your diatribes and the constant invective are what really elevate this to an on-line lynch mob more than anything. Short of Dean's close friends I don't think anyone is privy to what his motivations and spiritual experiences, or lack thereof, consisted of that day.

Charles; I did go back and re-read (ALL of) my earlier posts and I respectfully disagree with your assessment that it was My "vitriol" that has sent this thread into an "on line lynch mob". Other than being the author of the Potter Poll thread I doubt that it was Me that inflamed or elevated this issue. And I could not find any comment that could be construed as "libelous". But if anyone wants to take me to court over it I would freely provide my mailing address to them. I receive comments to me very sincerely, be they commendations or condemnations. I am willing to listen with an open mind and adjust my reasoning accordingly. If you can indicate specific examples of how what I said was cause for more harm than what was done I will openly declare my fault and publicly apologize to whom ever I have harmed or offended

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
May 27, 2006

Phil,

Let's start with this one:

Phil Broscovak wrote: "The next time a Red Rocks park rangeracts like a power tripping Nazi to me I will say THANK YOU DEAN!"

Sounds like a clear conviction of guilt to me.

Then there is this one:

Phil Broscovak wrote: "A spiritual adventure my ass. This was a photo-op and a shameless act of self agrandizment! Dean, you are a great climber why do you have to blow your load for 45 feet of bullshit??

So not only are you chastising Dean for poaching this landmark/icon, but then you refer to it as 45 feet of bullshit. If you think so little of DA, then what is the big deal? You can fill in the blank, but I think it's already clear what your real concern is.

More hypocrisy:

Phil Broscovak wrote: "And I don't have a real problem with a delicate ascent. I can assure you that Dean was not the first ascensionist of DA."

What you are saying is that you have no problem with Dean's allegedly breaking the rules, as long as his actions don't spoil your tenuous privileges?

More balanced discussion:

Phil Broscovak wrote: "I really wonder what was the actual dialog he had with the ranger. Dean "hey can I climb that thing". Ranger " oh yeah sure go for it no body gives a shit Mr. Potter"."

More:

Phil Broscovak wrote: "With all due respect you are totally WRONG! Dean scrambled through a loop hole in the NPS legalese."

I see no "I Think" or "I Believe",in your statement, so I have to assume that you know this to be factual.

Here is a dictionary definition of "Libel": a written or oral defamatory statement or representation that conveys an unjustly unfavorable impression.

Let's toss in a little conjecture, for flavor:

Phil Broscovak wrote: "Dean's Statement that NO ONE reveres rock as much as he does is utterly arrogant self serving BS!
Om mani pahdme hooey!"

This one is classic:

Phil Broscovak wrote:

"Ken
Your arguments reek of the same double speak that the republicans use to justify their illegal activities. Take your own advice and chill out."

The only explanation for this comment is: Comprehension Dyslexia.

All in all, Phil, I would have to say that balanced, rational, and informed are not words that I would use to describe your argument.

BTW, You brought it up, so don't shoot the messenger.

By phil broscovak
May 28, 2006

Well I stand by all my previous statements! Nothing I have said compares to the damage done by Deans public ascent. Dean broke the rules and regulations of the NPS and flaunted it publicly. Remember use of WHITE chalk was and is specifically banned. Professional photo shoots require NPS permitting. AND there was NO ALLOWED climbing on named features. I had my father in law read through all of this for his opinion. He is an attorney of some renown. He has defeated the IRS and the DOD and several other bureaucratic juggernauts in hotly contested cases. In short he is an eminent legal mind. His take...
Dean broke the law. Also there isn't a court in this country that would take a serious look at a charge of libel against me. So go ahead and take your best "pot" shot I could use a good laugh.

By Lowell Skoog
May 28, 2006

Ken Cangi has written several times that Dean Potter's Delicate Arch climb has caused the NPS to close the loop-hole in the Arches climbing regulations, and that is a good thing. In this sense, we could regard Potter's climb as a service to the community.

This line of thinking reminds me of the famous "internet worm" case in 1988. Robert Morris claimed that he created the worm to demonstrate inadequate security measures implemented on computer networks. He was convicted of a felony. Later analysis concluded that while Morris had ethical intentions, he carried them out in an unethical manner. (See Google if you want to learn more.)

If we regard Potter's climb in the most favorable light--that it was a deliberate attempt to get the rules clarified--I think we would have to reach the same conclusions about his ethics. They were flawed. His actions should be condemned.

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
May 28, 2006

Lowell,

Now you are building a straw man. Nice try, but the "big" difference is that the act, per se, of releasing the worm was the crime, regardless of the perpetrator's impetous.

That Dean has broken a law has not been established, and no charges have been filed. The use of white chalk seems to have been an infraction of stated rules, although I highly doubt that such an act, per se, would be worthy of all of this attention.

Phil is now playing a similiar game, by saying that his relative (the demi-famous attorney) told him that Dean broke the law.

My response to you both is: You are starting to sound as though you have a more personal grievance with Dean, or that you just want to be right. This thing is over. The rules have been re-written, and Dean is probably planning his next trip. I would even wager that there are many happy climbers enjoying the desert sandstone on this Memorial Day weekend.

KC

By Bradfordclimber
May 28, 2006

Guideline #1: don't be a jerk

Guideline #1: don't be a jerk

Guideline #1: don't be a jerk

Guideline #1: don't be a jerk

The above guideline is listed in small type when a MP user adds a comment to a forum. Perhaps it should be listed in large type and bold face (although I'm not sure that would do any good with some users.)

Sadly and unfortunately this forum has degraded and devolved into name calling, insults, mudslinging, and backdoor email insults among people on both sides of this issue. This is despite repeated requests by some users to bring civility and respect back into the forum.

Frankly people shame on you!

PRINCIPLES ABOVE PERSONALITIES FOLKS!!!! Does anyone really value an open discussion free of vitriolic comments? I sure hope you do people. And please know this: its not a value if you don't act on it. That is, you can spout mutual respect and tolerance all you want, but it's empty if you don't walk the walk. Or in this case type the type. Sure is easy when you sit all alone at your computer isn't it? No one's watching, just cyberspace. Remember, character is what you do when no one else is around and no one's watching.

This attempt by the climbing community (and I use the term loosely because where's the unity in community?) to discuss the pros and cons of Dean Potter's ascent of DA has resulted by and large in heated and childish bickering. Grow up folks!

I believe this forum's comments make us look worse than any issue that could ever be posted in these forums. In other words, in attempting to discuss this issue, we've thrown the egg on our own faces. Think about it. Hopefully no one outside of climbers reads these forums, but I know better.

So here's my advice for all those out there who're doing this, and I ask that you please consider what I am saying.

Please don't tell someone what the issue is or how it's framed. That's for them to decide. They can have their POV and you can have yours, fair enuf ok? Just because you disagree with someone doesn't make you right and them wrong, alright? This is what adults do, and I'm assuming everyone is of age in this forum.

Secondly, when someone doesn't respect your POV and has to personally attack you (thereby lowering their credibility,) remember you have a choice. Your choice at that point is to engage them at their level or continue at a higher level and choose not to take it personally. I realize you may not feel that way emotionally at the time, but sometimes a heated comment is not the best course of action. For examples of this, please see some of the previous posts listed above mine on both sides of this issue. They should be obvious.

Another thing that I hope helps some of you, try and understand the other person's POV, b4 disagreeing with them. Be rational. Why not even ask them a question to clarify or back up their position? Is that so hard? Do you have an overwhelming, internal "need to be right?" Or do you have to force your opinions on other people telling them how to think, act, believe, behave, live etc..? If you answered "yes" to the previous 2 questions, I would respectfully submit to you that an online forum is not the appropriate place for dealing with such issues.

This is meant as a forum, open to all users. If you disagree, fine disagree but leave personal feelings out of it please. Write what you need to write and then move on.

We all have viewpoints people and I think it's high time people in this forum (and others like it for that matter) respect others'.

Lastly, in an attempt to distance myself from the very people I'm mentioning in this forum, KNOW THIS: I AM ON NO ONE'S SIDE IN THIS POSTING. I hope this is eminently clear.

I would kindly ask that you not use my posting here to further your own point of view or argument in this forum, especially in light of what I've just written. Please do not hijack what I've just written as the first paragraph of your next posting and then jump into whatever your argument has been.

This posting is meant as a request and a hopeful reminder and teaching to those who I think need it. Up until that last sentence I've really tried to keep my own personal views out of this post, but there you have it.

To end on a lighter note,

One of my favorite lines from the movies is from "Home for the Holidays." Charles Durning who plays the father says, "Listen Honey, opinions are like a**holes, everyone's got one and everyone thinks everyone else's stinks!"

By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
May 28, 2006

Phil,

I've frothed at the mouth plenty of times while posting on this site. It happens. I am not actually suggesting that Mr. Potter should sue you for libel.

But specifically, I take issue with your first comment (the second overall comment on this thread). You made this comment right after the climb became known, and certainly well in advance of any point at which all the facts could be considered "in". I think the derisive and offensive remarks directed at Mr. Potter in this comment are completely uncalled for and do nothing but inflame the situation. They do not promote an attitude toward finding out the specifics of what happened, or having any kind of a reasonable discussion about the climb, the ramifications, or anything else.

You then started the "Potter Poll", offering us a bizarre black and white choice which you yourself twice admitted (in that thread) to being a gross oversimplification. That didn't stop you from encouraging people to vote and then trumpeting the results as "a representative perspective on the pulse of the climbing community".


I also take issue with this quote:
"Dean's Statement that NO ONE reveres rock as much as he does is utterly arrogant self serving BS!
Om mani pahdme hooey!"

I'm not sure if "utterly arrogant self-serving BS" passes guideline #1 of this site. Or does that guideline not apply to folks who might not be posting here to defend themselves? Of greater importance, that is most definitely not what Mr. Potter said, and your putting words in his mouth is neither fair to him, nor to the 'discussion' at hand.

I also think it would be better if you stopped refering to his actions as "illegal". That would be for a court to determine, but, as I'm sure you are aware he will not be appearing in court since he has not been cited.

Also, there is no specific prohibition against the use of white chalk that I am aware of; the regulation states that chalk must be of a color that blends with the native rock. More to the point, the majority of climbers who I've observed climbing in Arches (myself included) use white chalk and the NPS does not seem inclined to do anything about it.

By phil broscovak
May 29, 2006

Charles
Thank you for your comments I do take them seriously. However...
Your concern that the following statement was me putting words in Deans' mouth are unfounded.

I also take issue with this quote:
Dean's Statement that NO ONE reveres rock as much as he does are his own words according to Patagonias' press release.

My own opinions on this issue are abundantly clear, so I will refrain from further incitement. Thanx again

By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
May 30, 2006

Phil,

I have no wish to continue the general debate further, and I certainly respect your opinion. From your other posts on this site you are clearly a guy who doesn't pull any punches when you have something to say, and under other circumstances that's very exciting for me to read when you are talking about, say, routes on the Painted Wall (loved your Southern Arete story), or things of that nature.

I will just address the one quote in question since it is still 'out there'. What Dean actually said was "No one reveres rocks more than me. I consider all rocks sacred, as do most climbers."

You may still consider that to be an arrogant remark, and you are certainly entitled to that interpretation, but I don't think it could be on the level of "No one reveres rocks *as much* as me", which truly would be putting himself on a pedestal above other climbers. I find the actual quote to be simply a statement of his passion for the sport and solidarity with other climbers in that passion, whereas the misquote can't be thought of positively at all and so unquestionably makes him look bad.

By Brad Brandewie
May 30, 2006

Ken,

you wrote
"The sensitive relationship between the NPS and the climbing community, in the context in which some of you are portraying it, is a farce. I contend that the rules were nebulous, at best, and that they needed to be clarified. Now they are."

That is exactly the type of untrue statement that makes me continue to post on this topic.

There is no farce I am saddened to say. Perhaps you missed the post where I stated that I got my information directly from Laura Joss who is the park super. Where are you getting your information? The Internet?

ALSO, the regulations about climbing on the arches are not the real issue. Most of us would not climb the arches anyway. Personally, I am not displeased to see the clarification of the rules about climbing on the arches.

The real issues are that no new anchors are allowed in the park now and that nailing has been outlawed as well. (with the exception of replacing existing gear)

Basically, this means that there will be no/few new routes because it is difficult to find a formation in Arches that does not require an anchor for descending.

As for the nailing question... I looked though my notes from Eric B. last night and I counted 14 formations and 29 routes that are now off limits. Even if we assume that half of them would go clean (a generous estimate), that is still a lot of routes and formations that are lost to the climbing community IMO. Especially considering that these have been open to us for decades.

If this loss of access is not the big picture, then you're right, I'm missing something and would love for someone to explain it to me. As it stands, I climbed in Arches yesterday and felt bittersweet on my way out as I walked past nice looking formations that have never and now probably will never be climbed.

Brad

PS.

Charles, the trust that was broken basically went like this...

Climbers will keep a low profile, stay off of the Arches (especially DA), and not bring bad publicity to the Park and to Park officials. In return, the Park Service will not be proactive in regulating our activities.

By Henry
May 30, 2006

"Charles, the trust that was broken basically went like this...

Climbers will keep a low profile, stay off of the Arches (especially DA), and not bring bad publicity to the Park and to Park officials. In return, the Park Service will not be proactive in regulating our activities."

Seems like a simple enough concept, even for us benighted posters....

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Jun 1, 2006

There is no fame in being quoted out of context.


These quotes basically sum it up for me:

- "Arches officials have decided Potter's climb was not illegal, due to vaguely worded regulations that have since been made crystal clear to prohibit any more arch climbs."

- "The voice of the community is important to me," he said. "My views are not concrete. I'm open to change." In a private e-mail exchange among colleagues, Potter also said climbing the arch represented his "freedom of expression."

And that, insists Eric Perlman, is where the bickering should end.

"I can't speak for Dean, but I can say that if I were in his position�knowing that I had done the best that I could do and my motives were pure and my execution was pure in the highest style�if other people choose to misinterpret what I've done, that's their business," he says. "I don't have to bow down and apologize for doing what I did just because you have an opinion that's counter to it."

By Bruce Hildenbrand
Jun 1, 2006

First off, I would encourage everyone who has any interest in the Delicate Arch ascent to read the article on Outside Online. It is quite good and presents a lot of information from all sides, including Patagonia.

For me, the most important item in the article was documented photo evidence that Dean Potter's ascent of Delicate Arch left multiple grooves in the arch. The pictures are clear that there are grooves in the arch.

Now, some may argue that there is no way to prove that Dean left those grooves, but as documented in the article, not only did Dean climb the arch at least three times with a top rope for a belay, but several other people jumared to the top of the arch using fixed lines.

I think it is important to mention that one of those persons jumaring to the top of the arch was Eric Perlman who filmed Dean's ascent for one of his upcoming videos. I think that makes the statement that Ken quoted in his most recent post from Eric Perlman pretty suspect.

In summary, I would highly recommend that you read the article on Outside Online. And, it is pretty clear to me that Dean's ascent and those by his two cohorts did, indeed, leave a trace on Delicate Arch.

Bruce

By Ron Olsen
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 2, 2006

Dean Potter was interviewed on NPR today; here's a link:
NPR Potter Interview

Dean presents his side of the story.

You can listen to the interview; it's only a few minutes.

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Jun 2, 2006

Dean’s NPR discussion has reaffirmed my position on the Delicate Arch matter. It also reaffirms my belief that climbers, in general, are not as informed as we should be, regarding the environments in which we indulge our sense of adventure. What has surprised and disturbed me, however, is how premature so many members of the climbing community were in trying to convict and defame one of their peers, without first procuring the requisite facts and hearing all sides of the story.

I want to try to bring a few observations into the light, because it seems clear to me that the inability of so many of you to see what actually happened here is a sign that it is likely to happen again.

One of the major problems, as I have observed it, is that climbers can get so entrenched in our own personal activities that we sometimes neglect to periodically step back and take note of how our actions are affecting others – especially non-climbing members of our communities. In other words, we can become completely self-absorbed. I’ll site a recent accident, in Salt Lake, as an example:

Not long after moving to Salt Lake, a year and one half ago, I happened upon a local crag (The Slips). The cliff sits adjacent to a major watershed, which can generate class six rapids during spring runoff.

Upon arriving, during our first visit, I was startled by the presence of a double (upper and lower) rope Tyrolean Traverse. The water was low at the time, but the deadly nature of the two ropes, to entice an unsecured tourist or child into attempting a crossing, was quickly apparent to me. It should have been to any climber, who had taken a second to think about it. Apparently no one had.

After tenuously crossing it myself, with a harness, I decided to post my concern on climbingsaltlake.com. What I thought would be reasonable exchange, and a consensus to at least remove the lower rope, turned into a protracted battle between myself and the majority of regular members to that site. I was ridiculed and eventually told that I should shut up and move back to Boulder.

They all wanted to keep the rope, in spite of the imminent danger to children, and the fact that there is an easy walk-in approach to the crag. After threatening to chop the rope, and then being told that it would be replaced, I decided to walk away from the situation. To my absolute regret, just last week, a fifteen-year-old girl fell from that very rig and drowned. Now I have to live with the reality that I might have been able to prevent that unfortunate tragedy if I hadn’t let myself feel bullied by a group of climbers, who had become completely self-absorbed in their desire to insure their own convenience – even at the expense of everyone else’s safety. To add insult to injury, there have been only twenty or so posts to that accident thread – most of which regard a desire to replace the ropes with a footbridge. HELLLLLOOOOO!!!!

You all have posted more than one hundred, vitriolic, ignorant, self-centered, and negative admonishments to Dean, for climbing a f---ing forty-five-foot piece of sandstone. And do you know why you are so pissed off about it? I’ll answer that. It is because your main concern is that you will lose your opportunity to adorn another desert tower with dirty slings and bolts. That is more important to you than the fact that a young girl is dead because of your selfish neglect.

Dean broke no laws, nor did he jeopardize our access. Our access was already in jeopardy for a number of reasons. NPS has already admitted that now was just a convenient time to impose non-related restrictions that had already been on the table, yet many of you still blame Dean for that. Everything is Dean’s fault, because you lost some privileges that really weren’t yours in the first place. You know…I said this to George Bell, and then I retracted it, because I didn’t want him to feel singled out, so I will say it to you all now: Grow Up! Stop blaming others for your own ignorance, neglect, and selfishness.

I am telling you this because I am one of you. I have lost the same tenuous privileges, although I am not willing to erroneously blame one of my peers for something that was not his fault. Your argument has been that the why and the law don’t matter, and that "your" loss of access is all that does. You couldn’t be more mistaken. The law and the why are all that matters, and making Dean a scapegoat is wrong – period.

If these events don’t teach us to curb our selfishness, then I fear for the future of this sport.

KC

By Bruce Hildenbrand
Jun 2, 2006

Ken Cangi writes:

"One of the major problems, as I have observed it, is that climbers can get so entrenched in our own personal activities that we sometimes neglect to periodically step back and take note of how our actions are affecting others....."

That's a very good description of Dean Potter!

Ken also writes:

"If these events don’t teach us to curb our selfishness, then I fear for the future of this sport."

Good advice for publicity stunts like Dean Potter's climb.

Bruce

By Henry
Jun 2, 2006

KC ""You all have posted more than one hundred, vitriolic, ignorant, self-centered, and negative admonishments to Dean, for climbing a f---ing forty-five-foot piece of sandstone. And do you know why you are so pissed off about it? I’ll answer that""
Does everyone feel the love?

By Lowell Skoog
Jun 2, 2006

The why and the law don't matter here. Symbolism matters. Delicate Arch is a public symbol. It's a symbol whose meaning is, in part, look but don't climb. That has always been understood by climbers. By ignoring that and publicizing what he did, Dean Potter has given climbers a black eye. Patagonia gets it now. That's why they have asked Potter to apologize--a symbolic gesture.

Maybe I like to piss on things. It's how I express myself and commune with nature. I like to sign my name in piss. I've been thinking about pissing on the Statue of Liberty. I know that pissing in public is illegal, but I bet I can find a loophole. Maybe I'll piss into a spray bottle and then sign my name with that. No harm done, right?

Symbolically speaking, Potter pissed his name on a national icon. The public doesn't really care whether he damaged it. It's the symbolism, stupid.

By Ron Olsen
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 2, 2006

Ken Cangi wrote:
You all have posted more than one hundred, vitriolic, ignorant, self-centered, and negative admonishments to Dean, for climbing a f---ing forty-five-foot piece of sandstone. And do you know why you are so pissed off about it? I’ll answer that. It is because your main concern is that you will lose your opportunity to adorn another desert tower with dirty slings and bolts. That is more important to you than the fact that a young girl is dead because of your selfish neglect.

Def: Hyperbole: extravagant exaggeration.

Example: See above.

Calm down, Ken. Foaming at the mouth does little to advance your argument.

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Jun 2, 2006

Ron,

I'm as calm as the Pope at a funeral.

Try reading the message, instead of reading into it.

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Jun 3, 2006

Lowell Skoog wrote: "The why and the law don't matter here. Symbolism matters."

Hand over the chillum. You've had enough.

So what you're telling me is that you are trying to trash a fellow climber's reputation over symbolism? You're a first-rate kinda guy, Lowell.

By griz
From: lakewood,co
Jun 3, 2006

take your lithium,ken.

By phil broscovak
Jun 3, 2006

Ken
No one is trying to trash Potter's reputation, he did that himself!
The vast majority are simply expressing their displeasure with his bad choice of action. When you look at all the climbers including prominent names who are opposed to what Dean did it is somewhat funny that you still so tightly cling to your minority opinion. It is like you are trying to ride a dead horse. Giddy up horsie. True to your M.O. you go on the offensive when people disagree with you. To differ in opinion is perfectly fine. But you go into attack mode bashing anyone you perceive to oppose you. Ironically you trash other climbers in the way that you accuse us of doing to Dean. Ken, please quit "smart mouthing" posters on this site who do not agree with you.
It only demeans you and destroys your credibility.

By M.Morley
Administrator
From: Sacramento, CA
Jun 3, 2006

I thought this was worth (re)posting here. It was sent by the sister of one of the film/photographers, Brad Lynch. ~MM

-----------------------------------------

I'm writing to make an editorial comment. Until today, I was unfamiliar with your Web site, but I understand it has hosted significant commentary on Dean Potter's recent ascent of Delicate Arch in Utah. People have complained not only about the climb, but that it was filmed and photographed. Filmed and photographed in part by my brother, Brad Lynch. I have never had anything to do with rock climbing and thus am uninvolved in its politics. However, I have watched Brad interact with nature since his birth. I camped, hiked and tracked animals with him from the time he was five or six. Brad would never, NEVER do a single thing to harm anything in nature. He is the most uncompromisingly ethical person I know. He's incapable of lying about something like this and if he says he and Dean didn't harm the arch, they didn't.

Sharon Crenson

By Princess Mia
From: Vail
Jun 3, 2006

I have lost all respect for one of my climbing heroes/role models.
If we do not respect closures; future access to other climbing areas may be in jeopardy. Imagine if the legal climbing areas in the National Parks or anywhere else closed to climbing? It is the responsibility of all climbers to obey the rules. It is a shame that "fame and glory" for one climber may harm access for all the rest of us. I am not impressed with Dean.

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Jun 3, 2006

Phil,

Minority opinion among who - a few dozen climbers? You really should step back a bit further.

I have no interest in being a politically correct spokesman for the minority. I am a climber, and I am embarrassed by the behavior of other climbers, who have no problem jumping to conclusions, at the expense of others.

You don't have to like or agree with what I have to say, although you should at least consider the validity of my point of view, because it represents a larger audience than one.

By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 3, 2006

Ken tells us to wait until all the facts are in, and I guess there is still another side to be told. But last night on NPR Dean just repeated the same old tale, and to every objection he comes up with a new twist he didn't even mention before like how he padded the rock with his jacket. I really do not see how he can be so sure the rock was never damaged as it was completely dark when all this toproping was done. This has nothing to do with this bulletin board or anything we have said, it has to do with what happened that day in Arches NP.

There are numerous details still being withheld, like how they got the rope up there in the first place. The Outside story contains hints that nobody is ever going to reveal how this was done. Why not? Starting out at 10:30 PM from Moab, not revealing certain facts, are these the actions of two innocent climbers communing with nature?

A few years ago I took my kids to Delicate Arch. They had a fantastic time and I'm sure they will remember it for the rest of their lives. There are not many "forty-five foot pieces of sandstone" than could elicit such a reaction from a 5 year old. It is more than just a rock.

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Jun 3, 2006

George,

Dean's account is the same old tale - to you - because it is not what you want to hear.

Have you ever been on top of DA, George? Do you know, with certainty, that Dean is responsible for the grooves in question? Where is your evidence to support your accusations?

As for your comment about two innocent climbers communicating with nature. That is exactly what they are, until you can prove that they committed a crime, which is highly unlikely. Here is a fact, George: NPS has already admitted that Dean broke no laws. So much for your conspiracy theory.

By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 3, 2006

I have no interest in debating this issue with you, Ken, or anyone else in this forum. Please send me an email if you wish to address me personally. I have simply expressed my opinions, and you can take them or leave them. I certainly respect anyone who expresses an opinion here. I'm not out to "lynch Dean", I've never even met him.

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Jun 3, 2006

George,

If you sincerely don't want to debate me, then don't quote me in a public forum, otherwise I will respond.

For better or worse, you need to take responsiblity for what you say in public.

Regards,

KC

By phil broscovak
Jun 3, 2006

By Ken Cangi
May 17, 2006
In the spirit of not further inflaming the situation, I will state my position on a few of the matters thus far discussed, and then I will bow out of the discussion.
"For better or worse you need to take responsibility for what you say in public..."
Still Waiting Ken.

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Jun 3, 2006

Phil,

I am glad that I've held my ground, not only because I am convinced that my position is sound, but also, because in forcing some of you to qualify your positions, you have shown your true colors, as well as the Swiss cheese that you call valid arguments.

Trying to intimidate me into going away is a clear example of that. If you don't like and/or agree with what I have to say, then behave like an adult and ignore me.

Your argument is weak, but your character is weaker.

KC

By Henry
Jun 3, 2006

Phil, George, Griz, Lowell et al...posting a reply to Ken only gives him a reason to claim he is some kind of personality in the climbing world. Beyond being the chief public defender of the DP camp, why play with him? He obviously has never had a sandbox of his own, and has a history of sequestering himself into a corner. Unencumbered with the constitution to admit others may have some kind of point of validity, he calls into question the word games, that placates his own intransigent nature. It's OK to let him have his last word, as by now, noone cares about what he has to say anyway....

By Curt Shannon
Jun 3, 2006

Indeed, Ken's a total fuckwit.

Curt

By Lowell Skoog
Jun 4, 2006

Thanks Henry. You're probably right. As I wrote many posts ago, Ken lost his credibility when he said that non-climbers would be more offended by our discussion than by Dean Potter's climb.

I've been wondering why this topic has evoked such a visceral response. For me, it's because it touches something fundamental about how climbing relates to the rest of the world. When a climber gets so wrapped up in himself that he can't see how his actions affect others, and when those actions offend the general public and negatively affect other climbers, it's hard to keep still. It's especially hard when a member of the climbing community such as Ken continues to defend those actions.

It's also fascinating to engage somebody whose world-view is so completely upside-down compared to my own. One of Ken's recent posts called us selfish for criticizing the actions of an individual that have clearly harmed the climbing community. Up is down. Black is white. War is peace.

By Moab-Bomb
Jun 4, 2006

I found this forum via "Outside", by way of a Salt Lake Tribune article (www.sltrib.com/ci_3895422). Although I am not a climber, I am a resident of Moab, and I work part time at Arches National Park (though not for the NPS). In my position at Arches, I often talk to dozens--occasionally hundreds--of visitors in a typical shift. I also talk to a generous handful of NPS rangers, as well.

To paraphrase Ken: "What's the Big Deal? No harm, no foul. No laws were broken. Good for him, and you are all jealous. Now, STFU." Well, let me tell you why this matters. Dean "Does this camera angle make my ego look big?" Potter's showboating has, in fact, soured feelings toward climbers among many rangers (something your sport really didn't need) and given climbers an ugly black eye among many of Arch's visitors. Climbers being viewed as selfish by the traveling public is also, unsurprisingly, not what your sport needs.

If there is one thing generally considered off-limits to climbing in the average Utahn's mind, it's the Angel Moroni atop the Salt Lake Temple (hey, Ken--there may not be an ordinance that specifically forbids it yet. I'm sure the climbing community would be especially grateful if you were first, so that the law can be tightened to specifically forbid it). If there are two things that would be considered sacred--certainly, too sacred to despoil for the sake of ego boosting--Delicate would be Number Two--and as I see it, "Number Two" is exactly what Dean "Wheee! I'm an attention whore!" Potter did upon Utah's not-so-unofficial symbol. And now it appears that he may have damaged it, as well. Ain't that a corker.

People did not travel from thousands of miles away (many visitors are European) to have their view--and their pictures/memories--despoiled by Mr. "The whole formation was vibrating with energy" Potter. The park-going public (at least, the ones who are aware of the stunt) are aghast, and can't believe that the NPS would allow it. When he slacklined the Three Gossips, I had to field questions (dozens, actually) all day about "that guy on a tightrope". The next day, it was too windy for such shenanigans, but that stupid rope was still there, flapping and fluttering in the wind, prominently visible alongside the park road atop one of the park's most photographed features. Yeah, that made thousands of photos better. Park visitors were wondering if it was a rope to keep the Gossips from deteriorating, or what. I STILL get questions about that episode, as well as the Delicate ascent.

Climbers, please remember that when you climb in full view of thousands of tourists, you ARE an ambassador for your sport. Act like a self-important fool (like leaving your slackline up unattended all day, for example, or shimmying up Moroni's golden trombone) and you have just cast all of your fellow climbers in an inaccurate (?) and hugely unflattering light.

And Ken, in closing, just remember that even IF it isn't SPECIFICALLY illegal, doing it don't make it cool, even if it does perform some negligible benefit by tightening rules. Remember, carrying box cutters onto airliners was once legal, and now it ain't. I don't think anybody with a full wit would thank those brave, intrepid daredevils for their willful exploitation of a weak ordinance, and only a half-wit climber would applaud new regulations that further restricted their use and enjoyment of public lands.

Ah, hell. I type too much. Sorry for rambling.

By Lowell Skoog
Jun 4, 2006

Thanks for posting the link to the Salt Lake Tribune article, Mr. Bomb. It's good to read about the evolution of Dean Potter's thinking. According to the article, he says:

"I do regret the negativity that surrounds this climb."

In other words, he doesn't regret making the climb, only that people have criticized him for it. He also says:

"The National Park Service continues to limit environmentally minded user groups without talking to the public."

My guess is that the NPS doesn't need to talk TO the public about this. They've been getting an earful FROM the public. Who does Potter think the "public" is? Potter apparently thinks of himself as environmentally minded. He's living in a bubble. What matters is not how you think of yourself, but what you do.

Potter: "But if it opens people's eyes to the diminishing use of the parks, then the negativity will be worth it."

The general public will surely applaud the diminished climber use of the parks caused by the tighter rules at Arches. Is that worth it? Climbers' eyes have been opened too--mainly to Dean Potter's recklessness and cluelessness. Does he really think the climbing community will rise up against Park Service regulations with Dean Potter and Delicate Arch as the rallying cry?

Memo to Dean Potter: You should get out more. Take some time off from climbing. Read the paper. Volunteer in one of the parks or something.

By Ron Olsen
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 4, 2006

A quote from the Salt Lake City Tribune article referenced by Moab-Bomb:

"[Outside] Magazine Editorial Director Alex Heard said in an interview that his magazine launched its investigation after letters came pouring in, even though Outside had yet to write about it. Those responses were running nine to one against Potter's climb."

By CRS
Jun 4, 2006

All Glory Diggers eventually fall!
Good point Phil B. What I would like to know is how far did toyboy arch his back to feel Deans delicate vibrations. Maybe his route should be named the Brokeback Arch! Why not, its what Dean did to the climbing community, and its also what he did to the NPS. Spiritual was not the word it was just a scape goat for him. I am sure that all they could talk about on top was how famous they were going to be. It's also blatantly obvious that he did do the rope grooves. Your a liar Dean! Don't try to misplace the blame on someone else. Own up to your huge mistake like a real man. The only way you could have pulled this one off is if you had not toproped the thing to death. Your wify said you did it the purest of style. NOT! Maybe in modern age debotchery. Any joe smoe could toprope it to there level then send. Only a REAL adventurer would have soloed it w/out preview. You needed to give the rock a fighting chance. Instead you beat it down to your level with a toprope, then deny leaving any ropemarks despite the fact its exaclty where your activity was.
Its really to bad that such a talented climber has fallen from grace with such a selfish act. NO MORE RESPECT FOR YOU! Its almost a heartbreaker, but not really. I say this because you used to bitch at the magazine fools. Calling them all sellouts. What happened to you Dean? You became the biggest sellout of ALL!
I would like to suggest that Dean and all parties involved get equal fines to the fire guy (aprox. $11,500)individually, and be banned from climbing in all National Parks for at least 10 years! He would be getting off easy with that. Just like he got off easy with the way he did Delicate Arch.

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Jun 4, 2006

Several of you are behaving poorly. The irony is that none or very few of you would ever have the guts to say half of this stuff to Dean's or my face - or anyone's, for that matter. You are cyber bullies, who are actually nothing more than intolerant cowards.

I am actually glad that you showed your true colors, because now the non-climbing (majority) of the community, who stumble onto these forums - because of all the press - will see how you behave. Your foul behavior is what will eventually perpetuate more access restrictions.

Flame me all you want. Coming from cowards like you, it is all hot air, anyway.

By Lowell Skoog
Jun 4, 2006

Ken Cangi wrote: "I am actually glad that you showed your true colors, because now the non-climbing (majority) of the community, who stumble onto these forums - because of all the press - will see how you behave. Your foul behavior is what will eventually perpetuate more access restrictions."

Another hit to your credibility, Ken. Do you really think climber access will be restricted because the non-climbing public sees the vast majority of climbers in this thread comdemning Potter's irresponsible climb? If you really believe this, and you care about access, then why are you "actually glad" about it?

I'm aware that this thread will be perused by the press and others. I'm comfortable with everything I've posted here.

As to the other part of your post, in which you hurled insults at unspecified posters, it is not worth responding to. I presume it means you've run out of better arguments.

By kBobby
From: Spokane, WA
Jun 4, 2006

All rhetoric aside, Ken's basic argument, that climbers are a relatively selfish lot, holds water. This entire discussion is a brilliant example in support of his thesis.

By CRS
Jun 5, 2006

Transparent as a glory digger!
Trust me that Dean has heard very similar comments to what is here on this forum, face to face. All that is written here is what people are saying on the street! By 90% at least. It's obvious by what you have been writing, that you're the cyber bully, Ken. Whatever that is? Who really has the time to spray about themselves on a topo website anyway, Ken?

Sure climbers are definitely selfish by nature. Climbing is all about self achievement and personal growth. Not really a team sport! But it's never involved cowards. One does not get very far in climbing by being a coward. That is what makes Dean's persona, and this arch maneuver, so disgusting. Especially because he used to be outspokenly against celebrity. And yeah, maybe he did not break any written law, but he did change that, didn't he.

May have been cool if he climbed it and never said LOOK AT ME. That way we could all go climb it, until someone got caught. Then it could be said "we have been climbing it for years". Maybe gotten something grandfathered. But, now the loophole has been shut forever! See, there's more clever ways to get back with the NPS, IF that was really your point, Dean. LETS ALL GET OUR HEADS OUT OF OUR ASSES.

By Bradfordclimber
Jun 6, 2006

Everyone is entitled to their point of view and opinions.

I'll try and relate a personal experience just to show some in this forum why people (some climbers and the general public) are upset with DP and his DA ascent.

Years ago, I made an ignorant mistake. I was at a famous landmark in Texas (no climbing, just visiting) and there were a certain set of rules and behaviors you observed there.

One rule was men can't wear hats, the other was no photography. I unknowingly and ignorantly violated both and was quickly and sternly corrected. I then knew the rules and why. This was a sacred place to those Texans, held in very high regard.

I immediately apologized and corrected my behavior, and felt bad because I broke the rules of this place. I could've cried any excuse in the book, but I was in the wrong and I offended people. And you know what? Other people's sacred beliefs are just as important as mine. It didn't matter that when I found out the rules, I agreed with the rules. Was it written in stone, or in their regulations? No, but it was a rule nonetheless.

When I got back home I told my friend (a native Texan) about it. He was up in arms. He said "that's like taking a s*** on the Salt Lake Temple here. So I f***ed up bad people........There's an old saying, "When in Rome, do as the Romans."

Sure would be nice if Potter could admit the transgression and apologize, instead of just "regretting the negativity." Yeah thanx Dean for everything you've done and given us. Hope those pix turn out well, although I doubt Patagonia will be using them. Wouldn't it be ironic if they try?

Another Potter quote, "diminishing use of National Parks." Newsflash for you Dean, climbers are a minority user for the parks. Most people just come to see the sights, and probably only once at that. Most visitors don't even get on the flat trails unless the trails are very short. Climbers may not like being the minority but we are, which is to say the park takes into consideration the majority's experience and also has to protect the resources of the park. Just because you and I jump on the rock, doesn't mean we can do it anytime, anywhere. It's called Arches NP, not Climbing Arches NP or Climbers NP.


To Dean and you others: you may not understand the symbolism of DA and even label it as "stupid." Fine that's up to you, but it's still something most people believe. I will tell you (and time will bear me out on this) that the majority of people don't see DA as a climb. Outside magazine's letters and online poll are running 9-1 against Dean's ascent, it's not over yet folks.

There are other people in the universe. If it's a majority, its their view and rules you have to live with. I think another name for that is Democracy.

Some of you posters will still see DA as a pile of rock that can be climbed, and I don't doubt that some of you will in a very clandestine way, which is unfortunate and selfish IMO.

At different times in this forum, the climber's mentality, mindset and self-absorption have been mentioned. My previous paragraph illustrates these 3 things perfectly. That is, "It's all about me and my climbing!" "I can climb whatever I want, whenever I want. Nothing else matters."

Rules (vague or unwritten), other users, environmental and visual impact, don't matter to those climbers. It's all about me, just call me "KING BABY" because only I count. No one else does. I would respectfully submit if anyone needs to "grow up," it's these people, but they're off in their own little "climbing world." Which is kind of similar to Disneyworld in that it's a "magic kingdom." So they're king and they can make you go away like magic, or by just their blathering. The outside world doesn't exist, just their "climbing", which is likely to mean their "drug."

FYI, drug addicts have a similar mentality. In fact, some of my friends who are rehab counselors use that very term to describe their clients (albeit in private.) And now that I think about it, their certainly are some (although not all) very obsessive/compulsive types I've met in climbing and adventure sports. Haven't you or are you one of them? What's my expertise in the area? What are my qualifications? Just so you know, I studied the topic intensively while attending a university.

Another thing. Climbers' reputations come from 2 places in my experience- the news and Hollywood movies. Right or wrong, that's where people formulate their opinions. WHY? Because that's what they hear and they have a great deal of other things (lives) going on. So now the rest of us get stuck with the aftermath of this incident and fielding questions about phony movies like "Cliffhanger and Vertical limit." And negatives outweigh positives, so climbers have lost ground on this incident.

And now we have rope grooves at the top of Delicate Arch. Do I know who put them there? No, but I have a good guess. I do know that it was a climber sometime. So whoever that was, nice job f***up! Anyone have a picture of that area of the arch in the month or 2 prior to May 7th? I'm betting it will turn up, especially if the NPS puts out a call for it. We shall see.

And kudos to Bobbby Hanson and his post 2 above mine! Point well said and well taken, I wish I could be that concise!

By Jay-Z
Jun 9, 2006

Dear Ken Cangi,

I, for one, apologize. In reading this thread, I had
judged you. And for that I am wrong. Reading your
posts, most of us wondered how – given that, as far as
we know, you aren’t part of the Bush administration –
you could be so defiant in the face of the facts, not
to mention logic? Me too. But now I see it. How could
we have missed it for so long?

You love Dean Potter.

And I respect you for that. Love follows no rules,
Ken, it doesn’t have to. Love can be blind. And that,
my friend, that is beautiful. That’s the power of
love.

I’m sure it’s tough for you, Ken, being from Utah and
mister-rough-and-tumble-I’m-mister-mountain-guy-Ken.
From credentials you posted about yourself early on,
you clearly come from a long line of frontiersman and
outdoor-types. But it’s the 90s now, Ken, and mountain
men CAN be sensitive.

Besides, you’re not fooling anybody here, Ken. I know
it, you know it, everybody on the world wide web knows
it. You couldn’t resist the flying and the magic,
could you – BASE jumping, highline walking, the long
hair that flows like water down the middle of an
arched back and… well, you know.

We’ve all read the articles, so correct me – correct
all of us – if these weren’t along the lines of your
thoughts:

>>Lynch proposed that they video the climb and says
Potter was unsure at first. "It took a little bit of
convincing," he says. "I said, 'If you're going to do
it, I want to shoot it.' We film everything we do. We
just happen to be super-bitchin' at it." Potter
agreed.
--Film *everything* you do? Ohhhh, I’m a hot little
potato right now and I’ll show you super-bitchin’.

>> "For me, it was just an overwhelming experience, as
if the formation was vibrating with energy."
--Wait a second. And just what were you doing up there
to cause those vibrations?

>>The top isn't big, maybe 30 feet long by ten feet
wide, and it rolls sharply to either side like a donut
stuck in the sand. Lynch says he and Potter sat there
for "hours, an hour, who knows," watching
stars rip across the clear Utah sky. "We were all
alone, just me and him," Potter says. "It was
beautiful."
--No, no! It wasn’t beautiful, it was dirty!

To realize that nature wasn’t all Dean communed with,
to imagine a Brokeback moment on the arch, that must
be very hurtful to you. We all know how special love
is, Ken. But you know what? I think all of us cry. I
myself cried just last week (or maybe it was the week
before, but no matter). Strong men also cry, Ken.
Strong men, also cry.

I think you need to come to terms with your feelings.
Otherwise, you know where this is going, don’t you,
Ken:

Soon Dean’s running barefoot across the desert, clad
in a loin cloth and terrified, sweat gleaming off his
chiseled body and his wild hair flowing in the wind
like a stallion, a wild stallion, and you’re chasing
him, you’re dressed in a ballerina tutu, carrying a
bottle of cheap wine, screeching, “I love you, Dean,
we could’ve been together! Think about it, you ruined
it now!”

But we don’t want that now, do we Ken. None of us do.

Take the path of the raven. Let it go. Love prevails.
Love is the answer.

By Henry
Jun 9, 2006

Damn J-Z, and I thought I was funny! That shit has me lol-ing at work!!! Are you the screenwriter I met in North Hollywood?

By shackboy
Jun 12, 2006

Sounds like Mr. Z touched a nerve there, Ken. Interesting, that, especially given the absurdity of his post. BTW, I thought the post was funny, so did Henry, so it's 2-1 in favor of Jay-Z there, big guy; but surely, given your arrogance, which itself provides great laughs in its irony, you'll dismiss this and make a definitive-sounding judgment about what constitutes true humor, oh-enlightened-one.

For someone who's long been "done" with this forum and explaining things to "morons" (damn, we wish you'd actually live up to that -- but then again, it's entertaining to see you get huffy & puffy), your defensiveness over silly humor just might show something...

You DO love Dean, don't you? It's the only explanation. Maybe you need to give him a full-body massage or something, ya know, get your confusion all "worked out."

By Henry
Jun 12, 2006

As a sorry excuse for a human being, I must say that I'm just now really getting entertained by Ken and company. I encourage you, Ken, not to give up, and fight the good fight! Don't be pushed around by the likes of us! You stud! Oh, and feel free to post your phone number, and I'll feel free to garner up the courage to "tell it to your face!"

By John J. Glime
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jun 15, 2006

This is not me speaking, but this kind of attitude has some merit imho. It is similar to what Mark Nelson said awhile back.

Really not seeing why Potter is taking so much heat for this. So he pissed off the park service. More power to him. F@#$ the Park Service. They have an agenda to limit climbing and climbers from national parks in whatever way they can. They just used this as an excuse and opportunity to advance their anti-climber agenda.

Instead of banning climbing outright from these formations, they should be working with climbers to limit the damage and traffic that might be caused by climbing. (Perhaps by working with the Access Fund to create safe climbing procedures and a permit system.) Seriously, I can't see how the park service can be so up in arms by some miniscule rope grooves that are invisible to the naked eye when all around they've done everything they can to make the world safe for motorhomes and their fat-ass inhabitants. It's okay to dynamite a ton of rock so that Grandma Jed can experience "wilderness," but a mortal sin has been committed if a climber places an inconspicuous bolt.

What I don't understand is how climbers can be so supportive of the park service. It's like the park service's restrictions occurred in accordance with some fundamental law. Potter climbed arch, new restrictions therefore must result as dictated by the Third Law of National Park Dynamics. In reality, Potter did nothing wrong! It's the park service that is not only acting unreasonably, but in bad faith to a constinuency that it should be serving.

Why is nobody pissed at the park service for creating these new rules? Why are climbers acting like cheerleaders for a government bureaucracy that has consistently done whatever it can to do away with climbers and climbing in whatever way it can? This is the same park service that wanted to put in a 20 mile one-way road in Joshua Tree and eliminate Camp 4 in Yosemite. These are the people that are trying to banish our sport and destroy our climber's lifestyle.

Frankly, as a climber, I'm ashamed that Dean Potter and Patagonia felt compelled to apologize. Instead of turning on one of our own, we should be united against the NPS - they're the real enemy here.

John Mireles

By Ron Olsen
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 15, 2006

John Mireles wrote:
Frankly, as a climber, I'm ashamed that Dean Potter and Patagonia felt compelled to apologize. Instead of turning on one of our own, we should be united against the NPS - they're the real enemy here.


Climbers viewing land managers (local, state, or federal) as "the enemy" is a no-win proposition for the climbing community. Guess who has all the power? Hint: it's not the climbers.

Fighting unfair and unnecessary restrictions can be done if there's credible evidence to support the climbers' position. A group known as Friends of Boulder Canyon this year successfully petitioned the U.S. Forest Service to get the unreasonable raptor-nesting closure of Security Risk Crag lifted. However, they had credible scientific evidence that no raptors had nested there in the past 25 years.

In the case of Arches National Park and the ban on climbing named arches and placing new fixed pro, I don't think the climbing community has much clout. Adopting a conciliatory "let's work together" attitude will likely produce more positive results than "F@#$ the Park Service."

By icsteveoh
From: salt lake city, UT
Oct 15, 2006

is there a video still online of this?

By Allen Hill
From: FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
Feb 27, 2007

Scott Gilbert climbed delicate arch ropeless in the late 70's. He down climbed it as well. How's that for style? I'm afraid Dean Potter's ascent pales in comparision to Gilby's simply because Scott's ascent was so pure and Potter's ascent was so clearly driven by more gear, cash, and fame. The fact that a video crew was there speaks for itself.

By YDPL8S
From: Santa Monica, Ca.
Jul 9, 2007

Scotty Gilbert could downclimb more severe things than I could lead! At Hartman's Rocks there was a water grove that he used to climb up and down frequently, standing on nothing, brushing lichen off of the next 5.10 foothold. I miss him, quiet, unassuming, and ferociously talented. We lost a great one way too early!