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Gunks MUA camping ticket - help?
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By lucander
From Stone Ridge, NY
Nov 14, 2012
Lucander off the GT Ledge on p. 2 of Keep on Struttin.

Hey Emmett, how's that ticket going.


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By Matt Davis
Nov 14, 2012

SethG wrote:
State ownership is not something I would want at the Gunks-- this isn't based on some theory. It is based on the reality at the park just up the road. And all this hate directed at the Smileys, I don't get it. We all get to climb at the Gunks because of the Smileys. Get a clue people. They deserve our thanks. They preserved a treasure for us and let us keep it.


As Kevin pointed out, other areas have been preserved with out turning them into cash cows. The Adirondack State Park and The Catskill State Park. Climbing access is free in both areas. Minnewaska, although a State Park, is managed by the PIPC, (for those not local The Palisades Interstate Park Commission). The PIPC is the reason there is no climbing in Minnewaska. The PIPC is the reason there is no climbing in the Palisades Park to the south.

It's very curious that the Mohonk Preserve is collaborating with this organization now. I mean, the PIPC hasn't given a damn about climbers in the past, and now all of a sudden they are building a climber's campground. Clearly, the Mohonk Preserve is very close to the PIPC. Also, it's obvious the Mohonk Preserve has a financial incentive to discourage climbing elsewhere along the ridge, including at Minnewaska, especially at Minnewaska. When the Minnewaska Master Plan was updated a few years ago, what input did the Mohonk Preserve have? Did they discourage climbing at Minnewaska in order to protect their revenue stream at the preserve? If not, why not?

Really, it's very possible that if the Smiley's hadn't acquired land on the ridge, that the Mohonk Preserve wouldn't exist, and that what is now the Mohonk Preserve would be state land. If this were so no one would have a financial incentive to discourage climbing elsewhere on the ridge, and we might be able to climb at Minnewaska, and the Palisades in addition to the Trapps, Nears, and other cliffs on the Mohonk Preserve.


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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Nov 14, 2012
Stoked...

Happie - does the majority of money that the reserve makes come from memberships and fees for entry? What percentage breaks down to hikers, bikers, and climbers?


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By Alicia Sokolowski
From Brooklyn, NY
Nov 14, 2012
Hanging out waiting for Die Antwoord to come on stage

SethG wrote:
The fees are high at the Gunks. I get that. It is totally legitimate to think so. It is kind of a bummer, though, that every thread about the Gunks gets destroyed by the same few people complaining about the fees. Give it a rest already.


+1, seriously


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By anita514
From Montreal, Canada
Nov 14, 2012
at Intersection Rock

thread drift...
are the free sites still open right now? I heard that they may be closed for the season.


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By Happiegrrrl
From Gunks
Nov 14, 2012

NC Rock Climber wrote:
Just let it go, Happie.
I know... what happens is, I wake up in the morning and check the net and while having coffee get carried away... If it weren't for coffee none of this would be happening...(coffee still in system)


Matt Davis wrote:
Really, it's very possible that if the Smiley's hadn't acquired land on the ridge, that the Mohonk Preserve wouldn't exist, and that what is now the Mohonk Preserve would be state land.


This is extremely unlikely. The reason Minnewaska is state park is due in part to that land having been owned by a Smiley during what would have been boon residential development in the area. Without the Smiley's stewardship for those lands over the century, it is almost assured the majority of parcels would be developed as much smaller private holdings.

"Happie - does the majority of money that the reserve makes come from memberships and fees for entry? What percentage breaks down to hikers, bikers, and climbers?" (Edit: As pointed out below, the combined membership/day fee is 38%)25% of revenues come from memberships and day fees. I don't know how the breakdown goes, but from being around the place quite a bit in these last few years, I would say that though climbers would like to see themselves as the primary membership/day pass supporters of preserve, it is not the case.


"are the free sites still open right now?" I heard that they may be closed for the season.So far as I know, the MUA doesn't close access in winter. For climbers, Camp Slime is available to those who have membership/day pass year round.


Now I really AM supposed to be working today, so please have pity - no more interesting/inflammatory posts!


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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Nov 14, 2012
Rumney

Happiegrrrl wrote:
25% of revenues come from memberships and day fees. I don't know how the breakdown goes, but from being around the place quite a bit in these last few years, I would say that though climbers would like to see themselves as the primary membership/day pass supporters of preserve, it is not the case.


According to the annual report it's 25% membership fees, 13% entry fees which is 38% of their income.

But what do I know, I only look at numbers and don't have my facts straight.


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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Nov 14, 2012
Rumney

Happiegrrrl wrote:
"Rock climbing is a majority reason the preserve still exists." You really - really - don't know what you are talking about.


How so? I don't think you know what you're talking about. So there poopy pants.

If you like to volunteer and break your back for free have fun. I wouldn't expect that sort of commitment from an average visitor. I mentioned this because it's a liability and public relations issue should someone get injured doing volunteer work, not to mention possibly hurting the future participation in such things. I'm not even aware of cleanup day level stuff to volunteer for (I ahve a bad back so heavy lifting isn't even an option for me). I also never receive such solicitiations from the preserve, but do receive numerous mailers for donations and such. Not even sure how valued the volunteer work is in their eyes, they seem more focused on my wallet than my muscle.

The Facelift team does not literally pickup tens of thousands of pounds of rock or old roadway by hand, they have heavy equipment for that (it counts toward the total Facelift effort because it's weighed in the same as toilet paper and water bottles). Most of the facelift work is benign/easy. I've been to it, for the entire event, volunteering every single day. But I'm probably off the mark entirely. I don't know anything because you say so.

Just because someone has a different opinion and/or point of view doesn't make them somehow defective. It's good to see the welcoming spirits of gunks.com have made their way over here.


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By MojoMonkey
Nov 14, 2012

Kevin Heckeler wrote:
According to the annual report it's 25% membership fees, 13% entry fees which is 38% of their income. But what do I know, I only look at numbers and don't have my facts straight.


You seem to think climbers are the primary user group and appear to apply that the above backs that up. As Happie pointed out, membership and day fees are not all climbers. That includes hikers, people there to bike or run the carriage roads - the non-climbing "tourons" they wasted time building a visitor center for...


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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Nov 14, 2012
Rumney

MojoMonkey wrote:
You seem to think climbers are the primary user group and appear to apply that the above backs that up. As Happie pointed out, membership and day fees are not all climbers. That includes hikers, people there to bike or run the carriage roads - the non-climbing "tourons" they wasted time building a visitor center for...


I didn't speculate because I know from prior discussion no one actually has those numbers from the preserve. The visitor center wouldn't be the first waste of money ever made (it serves a purpose and might have been a good idea on paper, but whether it truly pays back as an investment return is something that can only be speculated).

It would seem the people who benefit the most from memberships as a usergroup would be climbers. I'd be hard pressed to see many bikers and hikers/casual visitors buying full year passes to retrace the same ground over and over. Climbing is unique for the preserve because the activity can keep a visitor coming back over and over without the risk of losing interest/repeating things. The preserve wouldhave to release those numbers, and they might not as to avoid pitting usergroups against each other or give one group more real or perceived leverage.


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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Nov 14, 2012
Stoked...

Happiegrrrl wrote:
"Happie - does the majority of money that the reserve makes come from memberships and fees for entry? What percentage breaks down to hikers, bikers, and climbers?" (Edit: As pointed out below, the combined membership/day fee is 38%)25% of revenues come from memberships and day fees. I don't know how the breakdown goes, but from being around the place quite a bit in these last few years, I would say that though climbers would like to see themselves as the primary membership/day pass supporters of preserve, it is not the case.


Being a person that works for the preserve can you find out those numbers for us? I know you don't know but what about your Director? I'd really be interested. . . It's been a long time since I've been to the gunks but whenever I was there when I was a member, it always appeared to me that the climbers numbered in the hundreds while other users were more like drifters one here one there. I have a little trouble seeing how climbers are not the majority of those fees... Also isn't a climbing pass more expensive then a hiking or biking pass? The parking lots were most certainly (on the weekends) almost exclusively filled with climbers. From my memory, though very flawed at times, it always appeared the climbers were the majority of the population using the property and paid the highest fees so I'm having trouble reconciling your statement with my memory that climbers do not make up the majority of the membership/entry fees.


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By Happiegrrrl
From Gunks
Nov 14, 2012

Captain Mo - I do not work for the preserve. I act as a caretaker for a section, at least have over the least few years - one never knows what the future brings. You can contact the preserve and request the data your interested in. I do not know what the response will be but assume the front desk person who will answer the phone will need to direct you to someone else.

As for parking lots filled with climbers - there are several trailheads. The Bonticou one, which also has climbing nearby, and is a lot I would guess of similar size as Trapps, would have very few climbers in comparison. A hiker who goes there every weekend would think "gee, I barely see a climber ever"

Perception....

I had also written a rather lengthy reply about cyclists hikers using the place and going over same terrain over and over and then stupidly ran a search in same window and lost it.... Short version - they absolutely do.

Climbers are NOT the only users of the preserve, and recreation is NOT the only aspect of society the preserve serves.


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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Nov 14, 2012
Stoked...

Happiegrrrl wrote:
Climbers are NOT the only users of the preserve, and recreation is NOT the only aspect of society the preserve serves.


um being that I was asking if you could find out about the hiker and biker fees I think it's pretty obvious that the above was not my view or expressed opinion and your choice of words and CAPS sounds very condescending. . . furthermore I basically used to live up there on the weekends and work as an assistant guide up there, so I've been around and I think I have some experiences from my time spent and am trying to find out why you think what you do vs my experiences.

I've been to The Bonticou lots to climb and hike and there were rarely consistently as many hikers there on the weekends when I was a member vs the hordes over at the main cliffs. I spent a lot of time up there as a climber, runner, hiker, and biker and I can confidently say there were always hundreds more climbers then other users. Unless you were to put some numbers to your argument that climbers are not the primary users I have trouble understanding your rational that climbers are a minority group.

You also failed to answer or even rebut my query the fee structure for various groups... further leading me to doubt your view. I at least have empirical observations I'm basing my query on. You don't need to be so combative in your responses either... just say.


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By MojoMonkey
Nov 14, 2012

Kevin Heckeler wrote:
It would seem the people who benefit the most from memberships as a usergroup would be climbers. I'd be hard pressed to see many bikers and hikers/casual visitors buying full year passes to retrace the same ground over and over. Climbing is unique for the preserve because the activity can keep a visitor coming back over and over without the risk of losing interest/repeating things.


I don't know that I've ever been there and not seen runners. Maybe you arrive late? Weekday or weekend at the West Trapps lot runners meet up early morning to hit the carriage road in groups and go on there way before lots of climbers arrive.

One person buying a lifetime membership because they live in the area, support the preserve mission, and plan to be there intermittently will match a whole host of climbers getting a yearly membership.

This thread is pretty goofy.


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By MojoMonkey
Nov 14, 2012

CaptainMo wrote:
Unless you were to put some numbers to your argument that climbers are not the primary users I have trouble understanding your rational that climbers are a minority group.


I think the wandering topic started from the assertion that the preserve should do more to cater to its clientele, the climbers. The assertion that climber's were the preserve's main concern morphed into how much of the preserve's money comes in from climbers. Someone should try to figure out how much each user group pays versus how much money is required to support their use to figure out the most profitable users to keep this thread rolling.


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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Nov 14, 2012
Stoked...

MojoMonkey wrote:
I think the wandering topic started from the assertion that the preserve should do more to cater to its clientele, the climbers. The assertion that climber's were the preserve's main concern morphed into how much of the preserve's money comes in from climbers. Someone should try to figure out how much each user group pays versus how much money is required to support their use to figure out the most profitable users to keep this thread rolling.


ya - i've been loosly reading... but ya that's what I was trying to get at... I have my memories of the area from various perspectives (climber, hiker, biker) and they don't really jive with what Happie is saying.

I will say it seems pretty funny that this information isn't readily available or tracked by the Preserve. Knowing your users and in what ratios would be important for management.


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By Happiegrrrl
From Gunks
Nov 14, 2012

Captain Mo....I am not meaning to be condescending to you. The "NOTS" were intended as to be a general comment, and not directed specifically to you. Of course I can see how you would have thought it was. My bad.

As for a rebuttal of the fee structure - it is simply not my place to do so. I accept the management of the preserve has a reasoning as to what they are doing, and don't feel the need to question it. I also do not feel the need to find information because someone asks me to do it when they can do it themselves(this is also NOT directed at you specifically).

I am just an active participant in this thread, the same as anyone else here. I may have insights that others wouldn't because:

My experience has been from being there nearly every Fri-Sun from about 2006 - 2009, acting as caretaker at Coxing for 2009 3 months in autumn, and from May-Oct the last 3 years, and doing about 5 hours of volunteer work every Sunday from May-Oct from 2006 - 2012. I would say that I am there "a lot."

As just a person here like everyone else, I reserve the right not to methodically respond to each and every point, even if it is directed at me. I am also *supposed* to be working, since I am in mid-migration cross country and needing to make money to continue, and thus my typing bursts are pretty much because I cannot look away from the train wreck.... I am NOT speaking on behalf of the preserve, if anyone is thinking that is the case.(and the NOT is not dire3cted specifically at someone!)

I see many of the people who work and visit the place on a very regular basis, and because I am a bit of a slacker, I spend vast amounts of time in conversations with them. I would guess I have spent hundreds of hours this year alone talking to trailhead people, rangers, volunteers and people at the Visitor Center.


This is where my perspective differs from someone who may be coming on weekends to climb, and who may only see the trailhead assistant for the minute they pass through the entrance, the rangers as they walk past at the bridge.


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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Nov 14, 2012
Rumney

MojoMonkey wrote:
I don't know that I've ever been there and not seen runners. Maybe you arrive late?


Not sure if there's an implication being made... but quite the opposite is true. Half the time I'm there before the ticket collectors even arrive to man the booths and often leave at dark. I also spend time along the carriage road. I see the occassional runner, bicyclists, and tourons. Rarely do I see a bonafied 'hiker', as they are likely spending their time where there's less people and more Nature (possibly accessing other preserve trailheads if they weren't in the Catskills or ADKs, where access is free and trails longer). I know the other trailheads are much smaller just based on parking lot size. The income from the Lost City entrance would be 1/50 the trapps parking area based on the parking area size. I doubt we would see much in terms of a sudden 'found' usergroup mass through additon of those other access points in the conversation. I'm primarily thinking of the trapps, and perhaps the stairmaster.

Yes, other people use the place. My assessment is that, if combined, all other groups equal the climbers on any given day. 50% of the traffic, which doesn't make climbers the overwhelming majority, but it does make them the largest single group of visitors, possibly accounting for twice the next largest usergroup. To take it a step further, if we were to use the 37% figure (income as 24% membership plus entrance fees at 13%), that would mean climbers represent approximately 18.5% of the preserve's income. That's a sizeable amount. ~$500,000

Also worth noting their income went up $300,000 from 2010 to 2011.

If the preserve actually believes climbers don't matter, they would simply stop allowing climbing there. Something tells me that would effectively shut their doors if they did. So that's an important thing to take into persepctive. Without climbing and the revenue stream it guarantees the preserve would not be able to sustain itself at its current infrastructure and salary levels. It probably wouldn't be able to stay afloat at all. Anyone believing otherwise is living in a fantasy IMO. This reality and impact stretches outward further than the $518,000 in raw revenue. Part of the reason the tourons come is to watch the maniacs on the walls. Not to mention all the lost revenue for local businesses. Some want to dismiss a climber's importance to the economic fabric of the area, and I would suggest we don't place enough importance on it.


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By TWK
Nov 15, 2012

If this guy Kevin had a dime for every insult or inflammatory comment he's submitted here, he could climb at the Gunks for years. Hell, he could probably fly out to the Ditch and stay at the Ahwahnee.

Maybe he should get up from his computer and find a paying job, then he wouldn't have to complain about access fees.


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By GMBurns
Nov 15, 2012
Climbing at Morro Anhangava in Southern Brasil. <br /> <br />(photo by Isa Vellozo)

[kevin said - quote function not working well] According to the annual report it's 25% membership fees, 13% entry fees which is 38% of their income.

But what do I know, I only look at numbers and don't have my facts straight.
[end kevin said]

You said very little to answer the question and added very little to what Terrie said above.

Kevin Heckeler wrote:
If you like to volunteer and break your back for free have fun. I wouldn't expect that sort of commitment from an average visitor. I mentioned this because it's a liability and public relations issue should someone get injured doing volunteer work, not to mention possibly hurting the future participation in such things.


you really don't know what you're talking about. What Matt (lastname?) said a couple of pages back wasn't so far off the mark about paid staff. Many land preserves, particularly large ones (and even small-to-medium ones, of which I have served on the board of directors of), do have full-time paid employees to manage most of the work. But volunteer work is often the backbone of these types of organizations. While there is some concern about liability, it's only because insurance is needed. Properly planned volunteer work is very easy to manage and it is a very important part of non-profit land organizations. The only person person worrying about liability and public relations disasters with regards to volunteerism is the insurance salesman. Shit, even the lawyers don't worry about it beyond the simple measures of their jobs.

Kevin Heckeler wrote:
It would seem the people who benefit the most from memberships as a usergroup would be climbers. I'd be hard pressed to see many bikers and hikers/casual visitors buying full year passes to retrace the same ground over and over. Climbing is unique for the preserve because the activity can keep a visitor coming back over and over without the risk of losing interest/repeating things.


Having grown up in Bar Harbor, ME, and having had access to the many hiking trails and 40 miles of carriage trails in Acadia, I can say that going over the same terrain, even over a lifetime, has no bearing on usage for an individual. You can choose quiet, serene carriage trails or you can choose tar with cars (or maybe single track on private land).

In Acadia, there are many, many, many, MANY more local regular hikers and bikers than there are climbers. It's not even close. I've hiked every trail in that park at least twice (many others dozens of times) and I'd do each one again. The same holds true for the carriage trails and biking. I wouldn't even blink.

Having climbed in the 'Gunks during the week on many occasions I can also speculate that there are many more local users biking, hiking, and running than there are climbers. The 'Gunks on the weekend, for climbers, is a hornet's nest. During the week, it's amazingly different.

This is speculation, but from my experience of both the 'Gunks and Acadia, knowing how the traffic works in both places, I would imagine that locals use the Preserve (and the park in Acadia) during times when non-locals are usually present. For the Preserve that's weekdays and winter, for that matter, for Acadia that's mornings.

If my experience was only weekends, I'd say yeah, climbers are the dominant group. Knowing how the rest of the week works, I'm not so sure. Really, climbing during the week there is like hearing crickets. I've gone an entire July day without seeing another climbing party.

I no doubt believe climbers are very important to the Preserve, but I am not so confident to assume that they dominate the question at hand.


Kevin Heckeler wrote:
If the preserve actually believes climbers don't matter, they would simply stop allowing climbing there. Something tells me that would effectively shut their doors if they did.


Huh? How do you go from "climbers not being important" to "no climbing allowed?" What about "climbing not being important" to "climbing not being important but we'll permit it anyway?"

By your reasoning, if climbers are the most important user group, then bikers can't be, and therefore bikers don't matter, and therefore biking should simply not be allowed. Or, if you want, substitute bikers for the smallest user group. Bird watchers! There we go. Bird watchers don't matter to the Preserve so, god forbid if you look at one. I think my comment below at the bottom best sums your rant up.

Kevin Heckeler wrote:
How so? I don't think you know what you're talking about. So there poopy pants.


Maybe you aren't an idiot in real life, but you play a good one on the internet.


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By lucander
From Stone Ridge, NY
Nov 15, 2012
Lucander off the GT Ledge on p. 2 of Keep on Struttin.

Leave that guy Kevin alone, he's trying to help OP Emmett resolve his illegal camping ticket.


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By Tico
Nov 15, 2012

It's odd reading non-local insight into who uses the Preserve. And yes, unless you live in Gardiner or New Paltz town year-round, you're not local. All of these observations are from about 6 months of the year. The other 6 months see very few, comparatively, climber visits, and tons of skiers, snowshoers, hikers, etc. Ever wonder why Rich's shop is Rock and SNOW?


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By Happiegrrrl
From Gunks
Nov 15, 2012

GMBurns wrote:
But volunteer work is often the backbone of these types of organizations. While there is some concern about liability, it's only because insurance is needed.
Agreed about volunteers being backbone of pretty much ANY n-4-p org. Also, as there is potential for injury on the trail crew, the topic has come up. The preserve does have insurance, as would be expected, to cover such an incident.

GMBurns wrote:
Or, if you want, substitute bikers for the smallest user group. Bird watchers! There we go. Bird watchers don't matter to the Preserve so...
Actually, birders are pretty big for the preserve! There are annual migration counts done, and many people come to seek birds. (And while Kevin and his girlfriend Valerie may not be active in the Shawangunks birding community, I can tell you, that Val is one committed bird lady!)

A funny story.... But first it needs be put in perspective.

One of the trailhead people this summer, Ann, is a birder. She had a list of bird types she'd sighted tacked up on the wall at the booth. I said "So these are all the birds you've seen in the Preserve?" And she said "These are all the birds I have seen form this BOOTH!" (It was over 30 birds, if I recall correctly)

Anywa, so I am sitting there chatting with her, and we are sitting on the step outside the booth. I notice a piece of trash, a plastic bag, has blown overe and stuck to the base of the gate.

"Oh, look at that - Looks like trash." I said. "I wonder what it is."

Ann whips out her binocs so fast, and starts turning the focus to get a clear image, it was hilarious. It was an auto-reflex form birding.

"It's a Glad" she deadpans.


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By Latro
Nov 15, 2012

Kevin Heckeler wrote:
Some want to dismiss a climber's importance to the economic fabric of the area, and I would suggest we don't place enough importance on it.


The Preserve may not be perfect, but they have preserved land, ecosystems and the cliffs, and allow climbing at a reasonable fee. I hope that you have spent much more effort trying to get the PIPC to allow climbing on it's cliffs. Have you written as many letters to them, to your governor, senator and representative as you have postings here complaining about the Preserve rates? Have you made these points where it might help?


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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Nov 15, 2012
Rumney

GMBurns wrote:
How do you go from "climbers not being important" to "no climbing allowed?" What about "climbing not being important" to "climbing not being important but we'll permit it anyway?" ... Maybe you aren't an idiot in real life, but you play a good one on the internet.


Sorry I lost you. Maybe this whole reading and analysis thing aint your cup o tea... ;-)

[eye for eye, aye?]


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