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Easter Weekend at Cochise Bulletin
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By Daryl Allan
From Sierra Vista, AZ
Apr 3, 2012
Me and my Fetish I guess.. ;)

A very large family with many large RVs and several passenger vehicles will be camping at the Isle of Ewe campground this coming Easter weekend as part of their annual pilgrimage to this location. I have encountered this particular family before as many have and wished I hadn't by the time the experience was over. I encountered a couple members of the group there last weekend and, after speaking with them, learned of their intent to populate the area beginning as early as Thursday evening and not leaving until late Sunday.

To be clear, I'm sure there are members of this group that are full of good intent but my experience and interaction with a few members of this group was very much the opposite. It took several weekends of effort to clean up the trash left behind from their visit to this exact area last year. I'm posting this as a heads up to anyone wishing to enjoy a peaceful and quiet camping weekend in the West Stronghold this weekend.

I believe there was a thread or two a while back on this exact subject and the events surrounding said encounter with this group but suffice it to say that anyone with plans on climbing in this area during this coming weekend might consider seeking camping elsewhere. The last time we saw them there, they had upward of a dozen individual OHVs, several of which were modified to be very loud. I would suggest camping at Sheepshead campground, or as far back as the West Stronghold proper campground (Whale Dome trailhead campground).

The West Stronghold road has been graded all the way back to the Whale Dome Trailhead campground, by the way. Access to this area is no longer limited to high or even improved clearance vehicles.

Best regards,
Daryl


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By NC Rock Climber
From The Oven, AKA Phoenix
Apr 3, 2012
tanuki

GRRR!

We are headed out there to do something on Sheepshead on Friday. We plan or arriving on Thursday later afternoon. This will be my first time camping there, and other than a quick trip to Isle of Ewe in 2005, my first trip to Cochise since the early 90s. I do not want this to be a bad experience!

Daryl, you seem to know the area well. Where would you suggest camping on Thursday night to minimize my interaction with these folks?


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By Daryl Allan
From Sierra Vista, AZ
Apr 4, 2012
Me and my Fetish I guess.. ;)

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news on this one. You should be fine at the Sheepshead campground which is the first right hand turn off toward the windmill once you get off of Middlemarch and onto the FS road. There is some really nice camping back there and it's at the end of a road so the OHV'ers won't be using it as a throughway to pass through.

You'll be a mile or so away from the Isle of Ewe area so it should be nice and quiet and you'll be right at the Sheepshead trailhead. Lock up what you can when you leave your campground. If you wanted to run over to Trad Rock on Saturday or after you get done on Sheepshead, you could just park at Sweet Rock and hike over to Trad/Rad from there. That would help to avoid the chaos but they can't stop you from parking down there in the Isle of Ewe campground. The guys i spoke with mentioned that they would have well over a hundred people coming so just be prepared for a mess over there! :)


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By Scott M. McNamara
From Tucson, Arizona
Apr 4, 2012
One Way Sunset

Thanks for the heads up, Daryl!

Scott Mc


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By NC Rock Climber
From The Oven, AKA Phoenix
Apr 4, 2012
tanuki

Hey Daryl.

Thanks for the info. I would rather hear the bad news now and be able to deal with it! I will be camping as far away from IOE as possible.


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By Daryl Allan
From Sierra Vista, AZ
Apr 2, 2013
Me and my Fetish I guess.. ;)

They're baaaaaaackk.. and in full force. Yes, the same group held tight to their tradition and conducted their annual pilgrimage all the way from Tombstone to, once again, defile the peace and solace of what we know as Cochise Stronghold.

Human feces and beer cans as far as the eye could see. Honestly, this was a new record for me. I've never seen so much chainsaw use, toilet paper and unburied excrement in any camping area, anywhere. You would think it would be common sense to not crap anywhere near a water thruway. Well this group took the liberty of crapping directly in the wash; multiple times. Definitely a new record.

Between the dune buggies, four wheelers and trucks tearing through the stronghold, doing donuts everywhere, driving through the wash, up and down the wash embankments, and through all the neighboring campsites, we ended up so disgusted, our only option was to cut our climbing day short. Oh and the music.. my only guess is that they split their family in two and the other half went to the East Stronghold - therefore, this side had to play the wanton filth loud enough so they could hear it on both sides. Firewood... well suffice it say that they cut enough (I'm sure they had a permit - don't worry) to last about 3 months. I guess this was in case they couldn't get their camper trailers back up the hill and had to do more road work.

Oh, I might have forgotten mention last year the road crew that showed up last year with those motorized ground tampers to "amend" the road going into the Isle of You campground. Last year, they spent about 4 hours filling in ruts and pounding the ground so they could get their travel trailers down in there.

This is the same group that stole our firewood two years ago and hid it when we came back to pick it up after they refused to return it. Same group whose mess took us about three weekends to clean the last four years they've been doing this Easter "Kill The Stronghold" annual event. Same group that causes the disgusting aftermath that we (climbers) get blamed for every year bc the FS thinks it's Beanfest.

One thing was different this year. I got pictures.. and video. So... this year, I'm preparing a document, complete with license plates, photos and a full write - up that I will be submitting to my FS rep down here. Don't know about you all, but I'm done getting blamed for and then getting stuck with cleaning up after this filth.

Best regards,
d


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By Red
From Arizona
Apr 2, 2013
Cobra Kai

Wow. Nice work Daryl. Post up the response you get from the FS.


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By ClimbPHX.com
From Mesa AZ
Apr 2, 2013
Final Pitch on Birdland - 5.7 Red Rocks

I remember the firewood incident. I also remember the Cochise cleanup ...
This family will live in Infamy


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By josh balt
From Hill City South Dakota
Apr 2, 2013
me

Not everyone has grown up with the same standards as us climbers have. Yet they have some things that many climbers do not. I am camping at stronghold and spent the entire weekend with these folks. They took me in and treated me as their own...feeding me, playing horseshoes with me and they even gave me 120 dollars to see me off on my trip. I am very grateful for these folks. They treated me like family and all i did was show up with an open mind and a kind heart. Did they cause a bit of a mess? Yes they did, and i tried to speak my opinion with them on that matter. In the end they did clean up surprisingly well. Its not to "leave no trace" standards but pretty good considering how many people their were. And in my opinion its better then leaving a bunch of bolts on a rock and tons of chalked holds you can see from a mile away. Climbers cause the most impact out of any user group out there so keep that in mind next time you have judgments


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By josh balt
From Hill City South Dakota
Apr 2, 2013
me

and daryl, i see your point of view obviously. I keep an open mind towards your concerns just like i do theirs. Its unbalanced I see that. And yes things were "roudy" and their kindness towards me does not justify some of the "offences" that you bring up. Im just trying to bring to light that when "outsiders" look at us climbers they often sound the same way about "bolts and chalk and loud speakers and ect ect ect" They are good people, just brought up in a completly different way then us. Love is all there is, lets remember that when we are talking about people. They are not out there to "destroy the stronhold" they are out there to do what too many people try and do through facebook which is to socialize. Yes there are problems, but lets look at those issues through love not fear as fear creates a state of non-existance. And lets remember the impact we all have on the stronghold. Best solution would to be to lock the gate and make it so you have to hike th 7 miles to climb a rock. You do not want that to happen but if we are talking about protecting it then we should protect it from everyone including climbers.


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By ClimbPHX.com
From Mesa AZ
Apr 2, 2013
Final Pitch on Birdland - 5.7 Red Rocks

Funny I remember then as loud, aggressive, and the thievery of anything
in someone else's camp labels you as anything but honest.
Im glad you were able to make friends with them - they definitely
weren't all that friendly to us ... especially when we asked them
not to throw their beers cans on the trail as they rode by.
The same beer cans we ended up picking up two days later


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By josh balt
From Hill City South Dakota
Apr 2, 2013
me

....yea thats a bummer...feel all your guys concerns for sure. Only wanting to shed some light on other areas.


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By ClimbPHX.com
From Mesa AZ
Apr 2, 2013
Final Pitch on Birdland - 5.7 Red Rocks

"Climbers cause the most impact out of any user group out there so keep that in mind next time you have judgments"

I have to say I disagree with this statement.
How can we be the most impactful? I think the destruction of the native grasslands
by ATV and Motocross riders far outweigh our camping and climbing. THe rutted, destroyed trails, the cigarette butts and poop TP everywhere, the destruction of local riparian areas for firewood. THe crap we pulled out of the camping area they used was needless to say unacceptable and when approached - I remember it was anything but cordial.
We have all been warned. LOL


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By J Q
Apr 2, 2013
Me again!

josh balt wrote:
Climbers cause the most impact out of any user group out there so keep that in mind next time you have judgments



For sure bro, those bolts burn the eyes nuh? I always prefer activities that burn fossil fuels, events that revolve around drinking, and large gatherings in ecologically fragile environments. I mean, why else live in AZ???


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By Geir
From Tucson, AZ
Apr 2, 2013
Toofast

Daryl,

Super work cleaning stuff up. Thanks for a job well done. I don't know if you are finished cleaning up, but if you need help PM me and I will gladly help.

I'm not sure if climbers cause the most impact of any user group in the Stronghold. I suppose that depends on the climber. It looks like Daryl is doing more good than any dozen climbers.


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By Daryl Allan
From Sierra Vista, AZ
Apr 3, 2013
Me and my Fetish I guess.. ;)

josh balt wrote:
Not everyone has grown up with the same standards as us climbers have. Yet they have some things that many climbers do not. I am camping at stronghold and spent the entire weekend with these folks. They took me in and treated me as their own...feeding me, playing horseshoes with me and they even gave me 120 dollars to see me off on my trip. I am very grateful for these folks. They treated me like family and all i did was show up with an open mind and a kind heart. Did they cause a bit of a mess? Yes they did, and i tried to speak my opinion with them on that matter. In the end they did clean up surprisingly well. Its not to "leave no trace" standards but pretty good considering how many people their were. And in my opinion its better then leaving a bunch of bolts on a rock and tons of chalked holds you can see from a mile away. Climbers cause the most impact out of any user group out there so keep that in mind next time you have judgments


Josh, I appreciate your input on this. Perhaps my opinion is somewhat subjective here but having spent more than enough time cleaning up this group's feces for the last several years has left me a little jaded.

I'm glad you had a good time with them and we certainly appreciate your attempts to teach some LNT. The sad truth is that if they are bringing their children up with those ethics, that's all they will know. Their next generation will be as bad, or worse without some intervention.

I'm not sure what climbers are like in the Dakotas but in the Stronghold, we are among the least impacting of all groups using the area. I can send you video of a group of about 10 60 foot horse travel trailers parked and camped off IN THE GRASSLAND area of the stronghold. Despite the rough appearance, desert grassland is about the easiest to impact and the slowest to recover from all damage. That one incident by itself was higher impact that I will impose probably in my lifetime out there.

Be well and, again, I thank you for your comments.
daryl


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By Daryl Allan
From Sierra Vista, AZ
Apr 3, 2013
Me and my Fetish I guess.. ;)

josh balt wrote:
and daryl, i see your point of view obviously. I keep an open mind towards your concerns just like i do theirs. Its unbalanced I see that. And yes things were "roudy" and their kindness towards me does not justify some of the "offences" that you bring up. Im just trying to bring to light that when "outsiders" look at us climbers they often sound the same way about "bolts and chalk and loud speakers and ect ect ect" They are good people, just brought up in a completly different way then us. Love is all there is, lets remember that when we are talking about people. They are not out there to "destroy the stronhold" they are out there to do what too many people try and do through facebook which is to socialize. Yes there are problems, but lets look at those issues through love not fear as fear creates a state of non-existance. And lets remember the impact we all have on the stronghold. Best solution would to be to lock the gate and make it so you have to hike th 7 miles to climb a rock. You do not want that to happen but if we are talking about protecting it then we should protect it from everyone including climbers.


I am curious as to what their concerns were. Could you elaborate on that comment? I've never seen or heard any climbers blaring music while climbing. That's only happened once at a Beanfest but they were asked to turn it down by the Beanmaster; it was immediately turned down. They ran that chainsaw for no less than an hour straight on Saturday and they looked like little ants carrying logs up out of the wash from the fallen tree piling all that firewood up. Did you ask them why they didn't buy firewood? Do you know what the only source of organic material is for the soil in the Stronghold? If we keep cutting live or dead trees to burn, the organic material in the soil does not get replenished... simple as that.

Perhaps my 'destroy the stronghold' comment was harsh but after seeing this annual event for several years now and having to clean up after it EACH TIME, I'm done with it. I understand that I'm talking about 'people', and I've talked *to* these people and asked them not to litter and to please be respectful, as many other climbers have. All we get in return is drunken attitude and aggressive responses. When I asked them to return my firewood they stole, the kid that I watched load it into his buggy, got into his buggy and rode away smirking. Everyone else standing there in their campground laughed as I walked away.

Let me tell you how I knew they were back. When we pulled off of Middlemarch road onto the FS Stronghold access road, we immediately started stopping to collect cans about every 500 feet on the road. Fresh cans with wet beer still rolling around inside them. There's no amount of innocent ignorance that excuses this behavior. I see that they were nice and, apparently, very generous to you and that you may feel inclined to defend them. If they have that kind of money to give out, maybe they should consider donating to a local organization that helps keep areas like that open to the public.

And to be clear, this issue has not been addressed through "fear" as you suggest. That would entail us NOT talking with them and NOT pleading with them to behave more respectfully. Handling this situation with care is all we have done. The only "fear" any of us have is that the FS will shut the entire area down as a result of this behavior.

I'm not following your logic at the end of your post here. When bolts and chalk impede the serenity and/or longevity of the ecosystem or overall lasting beauty of the Stronghold or ANY climbing area for that matter, your point may be more valid. Until then, defecating in the washes and leaving trash everywhere trumps the worst degree of impact I've seen from the climbing community. Did they tell you they were affected in some way by the adequately-camouflaged bolts that were about a half mile away in Trad Wall?

And for what it's worth, I'm talking about protecting the area through educating its users, not controlling access or locking the gates. We have an obligation to enlighten people about impact and how long it takes for an aluminum can to fully turn back into dirt but when the offending group members simply laugh at you and continue to do it as mockery, how would you suggest handling the situation?

That's not a facetious question, by the way. I truly would like to know what your suggestion is to handle this situation. I will consider anything at this point.


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By Daryl Allan
From Sierra Vista, AZ
Apr 3, 2013
Me and my Fetish I guess.. ;)

Geir wrote:
Daryl, Super work cleaning stuff up. Thanks for a job well done. I don't know if you are finished cleaning up, but if you need help PM me and I will gladly help. I'm not sure if climbers cause the most impact of any user group in the Stronghold. I suppose that depends on the climber. It looks like Daryl is doing more good than any dozen climbers.

Thanks Geir and to all those that have emailed and PM'd to help clean up. You guys are awesome!


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By Daryl Allan
From Sierra Vista, AZ
Apr 3, 2013
Me and my Fetish I guess.. ;)

josh balt wrote:
Love is all there is, lets remember that when we are talking about people. They are not out there to "destroy the stronhold" they are out there to do what too many people try and do through facebook which is to socialize.


Just want to follow up that I appreciate your opinion on this Josh. It's only through listening to and considering others' input that I can hope to see things in a clearer light than just through my own subjective view, which is heavily affected by having to deal with it from my perspective (cleaning up, personal interactions, etc). I hope I didn't come off too offensive in my retort; that certainly wasn't my intent.

And I honestly am interested in any suggestions you might have for how to deal with this issue.

Best regards,
d


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By shawn bradley
Apr 6, 2013

Good going on documenting the atrocities. I too have seen the mess and carelessness of OHV'rs. If you need a hand with anything, give me a holler. My schedule is unpredictable, but I'd be happy to help.


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By jefe
Apr 8, 2013

Encourage this group to set up a facebook page for their event and sell tee shirts.
That should bring the heat down on them next year.

Props to Daryl Allan for the rant and the cleanup.


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By josh balt
From Hill City South Dakota
Apr 8, 2013
me

Daryl,

Thanks for the response, i agree with everything you said. I do think your spot on with your concerns and I will try to elaborate on some of the questions you have. I suppose im not trying to "defend" any of their actions, and your right I that because they helped me out in such a nice way on a human level I had to say something. Because people can be good and still have terrible habits. When it comes to my comments on climbers impact Im talking about climbing as a whole and not just the stronghold. The stronghold is pristine and old school for the most part. And i love how the climbers have shared the space, super props to all the locals for sure. Im more refuring to the fact that if you go to any major sport crag where there is dense populations you will see chalk everywhere on the wall, gridline bolting, ect ext, i have old school ethics of "ground up" and few bolts. I grew up that way so when I see a bolt every 5 ft It can really effect me, and maybe I will feel the same way you feel when you see beer cans and toilette paper. To me drilling a hole in a wall is a big deal, this is my own personal belief system. Its my belief and I dont expect others to be the same they have to discover that for themselves. Regardless, i suppose thats why I think climbers have such an impact that we are hardly ever aware of. (The same way these folks are not "aware" of the impact left beer cans and tolet paper have, I feel climbers are often not aware of the impacts bolts and chalk have) As far as the "fear" statement goes, I probably should have not gone into that. Once again that stems from my personal philosophy of love and fear- basically love is all there is, and fear creates a state of nonexistence and love casts out fear. When you teach people to climb you say "grab that hold right there" and they say "where" because they are "afraid". To me the philosophy applies to every aspect of life and relationships. All I was saying is, that we can look at situations either through love or fear-because we always look at everything either through love or fear - through ego or right mind - through God or Self ect ect ect. Take it for what it is.


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By J Q
Apr 8, 2013
Me again!

josh balt wrote:
Daryl, Thanks for the response, i agree with everything you said. I do think your spot on with your concerns and I will try to elaborate on some of the questions you have. I suppose im not trying to "defend" any of their actions, and your right I that because they helped me out in such a nice way on a human level I had to say something. Because people can be good and still have terrible habits. When it comes to my comments on climbers impact Im talking about climbing as a whole and not just the stronghold. The stronghold is pristine and old school for the most part. And i love how the climbers have shared the space, super props to all the locals for sure. Im more refuring to the fact that if you go to any major sport crag where there is dense populations you will see chalk everywhere on the wall, gridline bolting, ect ext, i have old school ethics of "ground up" and few bolts. I grew up that way so when I see a bolt every 5 ft It can really effect me, and maybe I will feel the same way you feel when you see beer cans and toilette paper. To me drilling a hole in a wall is a big deal, this is my own personal belief system. Its my belief and I dont expect others to be the same they have to discover that for themselves. Regardless, i suppose thats why I think climbers have such an impact that we are hardly ever aware of. (The same way these folks are not "aware" of the impact left beer cans and tolet paper have, I feel climbers are often not aware of the impacts bolts and chalk have) As far as the "fear" statement goes, I probably should have not gone into that. Once again that stems from my personal philosophy of love and fear- basically love is all there is, and fear creates a state of nonexistence and love casts out fear. When you teach people to climb you say "grab that hold right there" and they say "where" because they are "afraid". To me the philosophy applies to every aspect of life and relationships. All I was saying is, that we can look at situations either through love or fear-because we always look at everything either through love or fear - through ego or right mind - through God or Self ect ect ect. Take it for what it is.




I love bolt holes and chalk, it's a piece of art work that lesser minds cannot comprehend. I hate fat people, their sight makes me physically ill. I wonder if these rednecks love to have beer cans on the ground? They probably do, so wtf does this all mean?

The irony of bolt holes making bad-asses cry is not lost on me.

So here is to you AZ, hopefully you don't lose your access to places like Cochise.

Speaking from experience: People in RV's with children and 4 wheelers will absolutely jeopardize your access to an area. I have seen it several times and it can be permanent.


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By Jimbo
Apr 10, 2013

Josh, your argument avoids an obvious point. At this time drilling bolts every 5 feet on a rock in the national forest is not illegal. Littering, is.
Lets do a test at Sweet Rock. Throw a bunch of TP and beer cans on the ground in front of the crag. Now take a bunch of people there and see what they notice. The chalk and bolts or all the litter.

P.S. Good on ya Daryl. You be the man!


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By Daryl Allan
From Sierra Vista, AZ
Apr 10, 2013
Me and my Fetish I guess.. ;)

LOL Jimbo.. I can only hope to one day achieve your level of verbal efficiency. It generally takes me about 400 words to say what most people can in about 20 or so. ;P Thanks!


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