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Avalon- Poached Routes
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By Christian
From Casa do Cacete
Oct 30, 2012
trueslant.com/michaelshermer/2...

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By Scott M. McNamara
From Tucson, Arizona
Oct 30, 2012
One Way Sunset
youtu.be/yRhq-yO1KN8

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By jbak
Oct 31, 2012
A steep climb too.
Game and Fish hotline: 1-800-352-0700

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By Geir
From Tucson, AZ
Oct 31, 2012
Toofast
I talked with Steve on the phone today and we got things sorted out nicely. Thanks Steve!

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By Steven W. Johnson
From Tucson, Arizona
Nov 2, 2012
Had a good conversation with Geir a few days ago. Thanks for your contact and understanding.

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By Dan Cohen
Nov 9, 2012
This is a stunning display of disrespect and political gamesmanship from Jim and Geir. Jim remains defiant and unapologetically defends their actions, using the incredibly cynical and mean-spirited excuse that Steven doesn't privately own the rock and cannot legally prevent anyone from poaching his projects. This is a dog-eat-dog mentality in which anyone who contributes first ascents to the public and community has to be concerned that these two will be waiting to poach their work. In this case, Jim and Geir marked their territory on a nearly fully developed crag.

Meanwhile, Geir conducts Public Relations and offers no genuine apology for poaching Steven's routes. Instead, he uses misdirection and straw man arguments to deflect criticism.

It is quite ironic that Geir feigns concern for territorial behavior while perpetrating just that. The supposed concern of creating a culture in which a climber leaving a bolt as an indefinite claim on a route has no relation to this situation; southern Arizona still has loads of untouched rock. Jim and Geir went to an obscure piece of rock that was 95% developed by one person, which they were aware of, and poached two routes that were already cleaned and apparently nearly ready. This is an example of adolescent and territorial behavior by two grown men who crave conflict so much that they no person or ethic will stand in their way. The fact that Jim and Geir remain defiant speaks volumes about their character.

They made an assumption that Steven had abandoned the routes, despite that, according to Steven, at least one of routes was marked with chalk and ready to drill. In a blistering display of arrogance, Jim has undermined Geir's pseudo-apology by remaining defiant and unapologetic.

Geir's misrepresentation of events is telling as well. An anchor was put into place, which is standard protocol when working a route. This serves to allow the climber to toprope the route in order to understand the movement and evaluate the best possible placement of bolts. This tactic maximizes the quality of the route, as it creates a safe route and minimizes unnecessary placement of bolts. Geir's portrayal of something as commonplace as use of an anchor as a territorial act is ignorant of this method, and is a misdirection from the Geir's own territorial behavior.

The excuse that the land is public is a straw man argument. No one made any claim of ownership to the land. To equate gently requesting that climbers to stay off of an unfinished route to a territorial demand is absurd. Considering the bounty of first ascent opportunities that exist in southern Arizona, it's shocking that this exists at all. To a climber who respects the physical labor, time, money that (quality) route development requires, as well as decades of established ethics, evidence of a route in progress would suggest that the interested party conduct a tiny amount of research. Jim and Geir apparently did not, and they failed to demonstrate basic decency towards Steven and the southern Arizona climbing community.

Perhaps most telling is the contrast between Geir's statements (one from above, and one from this route ):

"After some thought on this, my personal feeling is that if a project is equipped, red tagged, and being actively worked, then other climbers are obligated at ask the FA before taking runs on it."

"For everyone else, please respect the second pitch as a project until it has been completed. You can continue to the top via The Shmotem Pole or rap the route."

For Geir's friends, a simple request on Mountain Project is all that is necessary to keep people off a project. However, if the developer in question is not chummy with Geir, then the route must be equipped, red tagged, and being actively worked, or else anything goes.

If I had to praise Geir, I would say that he has an uncanny ability, that of a chameleon, to take strong ethical stances to defend his actions, no matter how conflicting or contradictory they are.

Looking ahead, what will this precedent of rejection of established ethics and human decency lead to? If route-poaching is acceptable, will it become acceptable to rename established routes? Will they see fit to make unilateral decisions to re-engineer routes to fit their personal preference of style?

What sort of community do we strive for in southern Arizona? One in which climbers elevate their perceived status by manipulation and tearing each other down, or do we want a community in which climbers support each other and can pour themselves into their craft without having to fear their hard work will be consumed by perpetual conflict?

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By Jimbo
Nov 9, 2012
He's baaaack.

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By Christian
From Casa do Cacete
Nov 9, 2012
Steve's last post is a pretty good indication that he received a sincere apology from Geir. I agree that Jim's post was unnecessarily aggressive and a pseudo-apology, but you can't really force people to apologize if they don't want to. I don't think that's mutually exclusive with him maybe having learned something from the incident that will positively affect his future behavior in a similar situation.

The community needs to move on any way you look at it though.

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By Dan Cohen
Nov 9, 2012
Christian wrote:
Steve's last post is a pretty good indication that he received a sincere apology from Geir. I agree that Jim's post was unnecessarily aggressive and a pseudo-apology, but you can't really force people to apologize if they don't want to. I don't think that's mutually exclusive with him maybe having learned something from the incident that will positively affect his future behavior in a similar situation. The community needs to move on any way you look at it though.


It appears that you misunderstood my post. I did not say that Jim gave a pseudo apology; I said that Geir gave a pseudo apology. Jim apologized for underestimating Steve's climbing ability, which completely dodged Steve's complaint. Jim remains unapologetic for stealing routes.

How would we know if Jim has learned something? A genuine apology is a sure sign of this, but that remains to be seen. My point is not to "force" someone to apologize as it would be insincere, nor to mention that it is impossible. Rather I aim to hold people accountable for their actions. Without a genuine apology, or some symbolic gesture, how would we know that Jim has learned anything from the incident?

If Geir sincerely apologized to Steve, he would be at odds with Jim. Beyond that, what point would there be for Geir's mischaracterizations of the incident that I wrote about above (feigning concern for territorial behavior while engaging in it, etc)?

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By Dan Cohen
Nov 9, 2012
Jimbo wrote:
He's baaaack.


I take it you don't disagree with any of the points I've made.

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By Ian Stewart
Nov 9, 2012
Dan Cohen wrote:
Perhaps most telling is the contrast between Geir's statements (one from above, and one from this route ): "For everyone else, please respect the second pitch as a project until it has been completed. You can continue to the top via The Shmotem Pole or rap the route."


I'm curious about the outcome of this route. Originally posted Mar 21, 2010, latest comment Dec 8, 2010 and it still wasn't done. So, at least 9 months, and then no more news that I can see. The first pitch is 11-, and the 2nd pitch is "expected to be 12-". It sounds to me like maybe the people putting up the routes just aren't (or weren't) strong enough to put up the second pitch.

Personally, I think 9 months is WAY too long to "claim" a route. Really, I don't think anything more than a few weeks should be expected. If you're going to put something up, do it. If you can't do it, live with that fact and let others give it a try.

I also really find it interesting how the attitudes towards putting up new sport routes is more about "claiming it" and less about whoever just does it first. You think you can walk up to the base of a new trad-protectable climb and put your name on it? Hell no...if somebody has a rack and they want to do it, they'll hop on. FA goes to the first people that can climb it, plain and simple.)

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By climber pat
From Las Cruces, NM
Nov 9, 2012
Does it bother anyone that Avalon is inside the wilderness and everyone is using power drills against forest service policy?

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By Christian
From Casa do Cacete
Nov 9, 2012
1) I don't agree with Jim's general attitude of "it wouldn't have bothered me so it shouldn't bother you". It shows lack of empathy (in this particular situation, not as a general character trait).


2) I believe Geir is genuinely contrite and has communicated this to Steve. Possibly he also communicated an apology from Jim that we don't know about. Nevertheless, I think Jim should edit his post which is 80% insults and 20% fake apologies IF he has become more contrite since he first posted it. That's between him and his own conscience. Jim is a friend and I know his character is basically good but he can also be overly defensive when challenged.

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By Jimbo
Nov 10, 2012
Wow!!! I think everyone should get a life and stop freaking out over two 30 foot sport routes.

Hell Steve told Geir that he hadn't even top roped the 5.12 route. I wouldn't call that exactly working it.

There were 3 existing routes on this crag when Steve decided to bolt some more. So it's not like he had found some virgin untouched cliff.

Very interesting point about claiming a trad line versus a sport route Ian. Very thoughtful.

The argument about lots of other rock to develop works both ways. Steve could go do some of that as easily as I could. Its available to both of us.

We have, in fact, invited Steve to two different new areas to help us develop new routes. He has yet to accept.

If it would help everyone to sleep better I will happily go erase the routes (I do know how to do that) so Dan and Steve and Cristian can go up and re-bolt them. Then they can feel vindicated and all the world will smile at the heinous wrong that has been righted. Global warming will reverse itself and no one will ever go hungry again. The angles will sing and evil will forever be banished from the earth.

Dan as usual your entire argument is based on hearsay and half truths. Didn't work for Mitt and it won't work for you. Though I have no doubt you will regale us with a interminably long missive on why your two cents is anything more than just that.

Maybe after a thousand or so new routes over 30 years I don't take this shit as seriously as some of you obviously do!!

You all need to get a life and figure out what's really important. This isn't. Trust me on that, I know.




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By Greg D
From Here
Nov 10, 2012
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W.
Wow! And I thought Boulder people were bickering tards. You guys are ridiculous. If you see a possible route, put it up or shut up. If someone gets to it first, tough Shit.

If you kiss a girl on the cheek and someone boinks her a week later do you piss and moan on the internet that she was yours'.

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By Christian
From Casa do Cacete
Nov 10, 2012
Like I said, in the end you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. The fact that I tried is good enough for me. And apparently Geir's apology was good enough for Steve. So there's nothing left to do.

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By J Q
Nov 10, 2012
Me again!
Greg D wrote:
If you kiss a girl on the cheek and someone boinks her a week later do you piss and moan on the internet that she was yours'.



No but that doesn't stop me from continually fanaticizing of what could have been. I mean, she could have been the one!



Christian wrote:
So there's nothing left to do. .



Except to keep bitching.

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By Geir
From Tucson, AZ
Nov 10, 2012
Toofast
Only Dan Ayers-Cohen could have the incredible, deluded arrogance to assume he knows the thoughts and motivations of people he's hardly (if ever) met.

I apologized to Steve online and via phone call for foregoing the courtesy call prior to installing those routes. I openly took responsibility for this omission, and though I don't feel Steve had claim to these routes by placing an anchor on one of them, I was genuinely sorry that I upset him. He is free to do whatever he wants with those routes; I will sleep just fine at night regardless of how they turn out. I am sure Jim will too.

For the record, I do not care what DAC thinks, nor do I bother to read his endless verbal diarrhea and comply with his demands that I read and respond to his essay-length hate emails. What he thinks is not even a tiny consideration in my decision making as a climber, which is far more careful and responsible than he pretends to understand and portray.

Ian, since you asked, as far as I know High Man on the Shmotem Pole is an open project. I am pretty sure Jon and Mike stopped working it and are not planning to return, but obviously you could confirm that by contacting them. They are both on MP.

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By Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
Nov 10, 2012
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV
I started to type up a reply, but ended up heading into essay territory.

I'll just say, this is a very complicated issue. Climbing is about a lot of different things for a lot of different kinds of people. Just remember that some people take this sport/way of life very seriously.

Respect and communication. Two words that resonate in all aspects of what we do... Let's not forget to practice both regularly.

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By Old Crusty
Nov 10, 2012
For goodness sake. I thought climbing was about having fun and pushing your own limits. I guess it's become a bitch fest and "I put up this route before you did" competition. Are you really complaining about who drilled holes into a rock first?

Sorry... it's pathetic. Please, go suffer on a big wall or alpine route for a while. It's more credible to argue who's balls froze worst than this pathetic drivel.

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By Daryl Allan
From Sierra Vista, AZ
Nov 13, 2012
Me and my Fetish I guess.. ;)
Jon Zucco wrote:
... this is a very complicated issue.
I disagree.

Jon Zucco wrote:
... Respect and communication. Two words that resonate in all aspects of what we do... Let's not forget to practice both regularly.
I wholeheartedly agree.

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By David Arthur Sampson
Nov 13, 2012
Slap/Tickle
It seems easiest to let inflammatory comments from DC (or anyone) just fade into digital memory. While I respect his right to his opinion, when an agenda is at hand the conversation has been hijacked.

It also seems to me that there is nothing here to be done (as Christian has pointed out). Geir and Steven have spoken (communicated).

Jim has stated his position.

Agree or disagree with it, or them, or anyone we all have our own closets to clean.

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By Dan Cohen
Nov 14, 2012
Geir wrote:
For the record, I do not care what DAC thinks, nor do I bother to read his endless verbal diarrhea and comply with his demands that I read and respond to his essay-length hate emails.


Please produce the multiple hate emails that you claim exist, as well as my demands that you read them. Being that none of these exist, your claim amounts to defamation. Let's stick to facts, okay?

Geir wrote:
I apologized to Steve online and via phone call for foregoing the courtesy call prior to installing those routes. I openly took responsibility for this omission, and though I don't feel Steve had claim to these routes by placing an anchor on one of them, I was genuinely sorry that I upset him.


What purpose would calling Steve to tell him you are taking his routes serve? According to your current position (however different than your previous position), that an anchor as a claim on a route is illegitimate, you would have nothing to apologize for. Being that Steve was upset by you and Jim taking his routes, a phone call to tell him your plans would only serve to rub salt in the wound. This sort of two-faced behavior is precisely the political gamesmanship I referred to in my initial post.

Geir wrote:
Ian, since you asked, as far as I know High Man on the Shmotem Pole is an open project. I am pretty sure Jon and Mike stopped working it and are not planning to return, but obviously you could confirm that by contacting them. They are both on MP.


This final paragraph is the most stunning of all. Two paragraphs before, you wrote that an anchor is not a legitimate claim to a route. In a complete reversal, you then suggested that Ian contact Jon and Mike to find out if the route is an open project, thereby reverting to your previous position that an anchor is a legitimate claim. That must be a record for contradictory statements in one post!

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By Dan Cohen
Nov 14, 2012
Jim,

While others may be willing to give you a pass, I will not. I can not stop you from vigilante chopping or poaching routes, but when steal from the community you can be sure I'll be there to call it out. Certainly, you don't have to engage me, and you can continue to throw empty insults (and the occasional private message about your personal dislike for me. Do you remember that?) Of course, none of that is of any substance. I recommend, rather, that you actually consider the perspective of others.

Claiming that my argument is inaccurate and has no merit, but refusing to dissect any logic amounts only to posturing. If you believe me to be as truthful as Mitt Romney (which is especially ironic considering Geir's epic flip-flop), surely it should be easy to refute my logic.

Jimbo wrote:
The argument about lots of other rock to develop works both ways. Steve could go do some of that as easily as I could. Its available to both of us.


Your argument doesn't make sense. Steve went to an area that wasn't being developed; you didn't. He was working on new routes; you were aware of this and you poached them anyway. Had you been working on the routes first, and he took them, he would have stolen them. Understanding how this concept works requires under It's called common courtesy, as several people on this thread have referred to. Considering how times that has been referenced on this thread, and it hasn't resonated with any of your writing, I think it is safe to say that you have no reverence for it.

The excuse that "this isn't important" doesn't hold water either. The importance of rock climbing is personal and completely subjective. Simply because you don't care about the pastime you have spent the last 30 years pursuing doesn't mean others don't. It's a cheap cop out.

Any climber who isn't in your circle has to be worried that you and Geir will sniff out their projects and poach them. The only people giving you a pass on this thread are those who are in your circle, who do not have to worry about having a route stolen.

It is important to know that Steve didn't abandon the routes. He couldn't drill them because his battery was being rebuilt. Are there any special allowances extenuating circumstances for those outside your circle of acquaintances? If someone is in the middle of creating a route that takes more than a day (imagine that!), and a family member dies, is it acceptable to take their route?

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By Dan Cohen
Nov 14, 2012
David Arthur Sampson wrote:
It seems easiest to let inflammatory comments from DC (or anyone) just fade into digital memory. While I respect his right to his opinion, when an agenda is at hand the conversation has been hijacked.


David Arthur Sampson,

I understand you have a personal connection to Geir, and perhaps do not like the idea of accountability. I am unwilling to sweep this under the rug.

I find it rather dubious that Jim and Geir resort to grade school level name-calling, and yet you see my comments as inflammatory. Please, what inflammatory comments are you referring to?

What agenda of mine do you see beyond calling out route-poaching?
This thread is exactly on topic. The title is "Avalon - Poached Routes." That is precisely what I am talking about.

Simply because Steve does want to involve himself in this conflict, as most do not, does not mean Jim and Geir are absolved of any wrongdoing. The fact is neither of them have given a legitimate apology. Both have given a fake apology, which is more insulting than no apology at all.

FLAG


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