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#14560 - 03/24/05 06:23 PM Re: Guide books do what? [Re: irisharehere]
pitfall Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/01/00
Posts: 1165
Loc: Albany
Good idea smikey.
Give people a little history.
Provide some direction for those who want it.
Make it congruous to the idea of a nature preserve.
The signage wouldn't necessarily have to be about climbing. Perhaps describe the flora and fauna of the preserve and maybe people would be more conscious of their actions.


#14561 - 03/24/05 06:39 PM Re: Guide books do what? [Re: pitfall]
Smike Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/01/01
Posts: 3143
Loc: in your backyard
I cook a mean side of scrapple...anyone want some of that too?

Exactly Harry, it could be also and 'interruptive' sign as well. You could also add a section on what you as a climber can do to not screw up the cliff environment. The more I thought about this whole signage thing, the more I realized the impact the increase in traffic will have, and the real need to try to curb the effects. I just don't think junking up the woods by putting up signs or markers all over the woods is really any kind of answer.

#14562 - 03/24/05 06:54 PM Re: Guide books do what? [Re: dalguard]
quanto_the_mad Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/14/02
Posts: 2628
Loc: brooklyn

I think I finally understand why there aren't any signs indicating which way the highway is in Boston.

Have I missed any?

Yeah. Since all the Bostonians know where the highway is, the signs wouldn't benefit any of them. Why should they *pay* for signs, have their taxes go to pay for things only *visitors* need?

Boston's too crowded anyway, the lack of signs will help keep the visitors out; or maybe just keep them circling around Logan.

#14563 - 03/24/05 07:05 PM Re: Guide books do what? [Re: quanto_the_mad]
pitfall Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/01/00
Posts: 1165
Loc: Albany
Signs in Boston will be necessary for another few weeks. If there are no signs the people delivering world series rings will have no idea where they're going. After all, the last time they had to visit Boston most of the roads weren't even there yet.

#14564 - 03/24/05 08:29 PM Re: Guide books do what? [Re: pitfall]
tradjunkie Offline

Registered: 04/19/04
Posts: 365
Smike, sign me up [no pun intended] for scrapple, side of pancakes.

Now you've got me thinking to the future...getting all those lost visitors to the part of the crag they were looking for could cut down on traffic along the cliff base. 'Cause actually, the carriage road can handle a ton more traffic than the cliff base. The cliff base isn't really eroded too badly yet except for a few places like the base of Modern Times / Limelight (if I remember right? probably not!). But in a few years Dick's trail crew might be busy trying to salvage the cliff base trail, and your plan could help mitigate climber impacts along the cliff base.

The Preserve website indicates (extrapolating wildly) that climber traffic has grown about 7% annually over the past half-century (50 climbers on a busy weekend in the 1950s to 500-800 in the 1990s). That would mean doubling every decade - a corollary of which is that [assuming growth rates have not accelerated over time], that half of all climbing in the Gunks occured in the past 10 years, and if it continues at that rate that the climber impact in the next 10 years will be equal to the combined climber impact over the past 50 years, and visitation double what it is now by 2015.

Also, considering that the Access Fund just helped put in that bigger toilet to reduce honeytruck traffic to save the carriage road, reducing back-and-forthing by lost climbers along the carriage road is also probably a good thing?

#14565 - 03/26/05 06:23 PM Re: Guide books do what? [Re: webmaster]
Steven Cherry Offline


Registered: 12/23/99
Posts: 1300
Loc: New York, N.Y.
a majority of naysayers opinions boil down to a "everyone should do it the way I did," or else it's a wrong/undersirable/uncool way to do it.

I just re-read the entire thread, and I can't find any substance to this claim at all. And I don't see how this sort of straw-man post advances the debate in any meaningful way. Evan, please point out the dozens of posts that fit your description, or find an existing set of posts to argue with.

#14566 - 03/27/05 07:06 AM Re: Guide books do what? [Re: Steven Cherry]
rg@ofmc Offline

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
If we're gonna revel in excessive traditude, then by thunder lets have at it...

Reductio ad absurdem fallacies are the resort of those with nothing substantive to say. There doesn't seem to be any shortage of folks out there, on both sides of this little debate, who think they can replace reason with ridicule and get away with it. We know this works in our current political arena, so who can blame them, they may well be right.

bold statement but i guess you know all. i sure hope these were exum guides!

Well, I deserve flak for the statement that my campground neighbors are more accomplished than anyone on this board, and I'm sorry I made it, not because I don't suspect that it is substantially correct, but because it is an inflammatory distraction from my main point.

For the record, a number of them are Exum guides, most have been up Denali several times by different routes and have several mountaineering trips to the Andes and in some cases the Himalaya under their belts with major ascents, e.g. Ama Dablam, to their credit. They are all widely travelled in the U.S. and have done major routes on rock and ice in Yosemite, Indian Creek, Red Rocks, the Sierra, the Tetons and Wind Rivers, and the ranges of the Pacific Northwest. In what I would call the early season, they are warming up on grade V 5.11 level climbs. Chas is the only person I can think of who has mentioned some comparable levels of climbing, but there may be a few others, to whom I apologize for whatever offense they may have suffered.

The reason for mentioning them at all was that I anticipated Evan's straw-man attack (though I was astonished that it came from Evan) and wanted to emphasize that my points were not simply the perspective of an old Gunks hand and ought not to be dismissed by the ridicule specialists as the result of my supposed irrelevance as conferred by advanced age.

Climbing is supposed to be about adventure and testing your limits

Sure, but that isn't what I was talking about in my post. Unfortunately, this gave the ridicule mavens another straw man to beat to death, for example,

If you're going to get up on your orange crate of adventure, be sure to leave your guidebook behind, too!

This luscious tidbit of utter irrelevance, somehow managing to confuse a guidebook description with modifications to the existing environment, is embedded in a textbook enumeration of fallacious arguments, the next of which is the now ever-so-fashionable ad hominem attack:

It seems to me that only those of you who thoroughly know your way around want to maintain the find-it-yourself-pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstaps-chest-thumping-pomposity.

As I said, I knew this was coming, but Et, tu, Brute? Sadly, there is more:

I find it laughable that many of you posers would deprive other climbers of choices and conveniences...

The gratuitous insult here is the malodorous precursor of the putrid reasoning that follows. Where have we heard this before? Oh yes---this is precisely how those in favor of developing the Shawangunk Ridge speak. Those multimillionaires are being deprived of the choice of second home sites. Deprive? The things under discussion don't exist yet and aren't a part of the natural scene. No one can be deprived of things that aren't there to begin with. Choices? A choice is whether to continue on or retreat from a badly protected crux. This is how climbers choose their level of adventure, to mention a concept I did not introduce. Climbers choices ought, in my opinion, to refer to alternatives that actually exist, not to some potentially limitless spectrum of artificial "improvements," improvements that both deprive and limit the choices of future generations to experience what nature originally provided.

I find the argument for "adventure" to be valid, but I don't see how my adventure necessitates handicaping others for the sake of my narrow and selfish aims.

Oy, not the adventure straw man again, marinated as usual in unsubstantiated and insulting insinuations about others' motives. Adventure is an individual subjective experience, and if adventure was the point, which it is not, then it would indeed be selfish for someone to impose their sense of adventure on others. But the idea that others are "handicapped" by having to confront what is simply there is preposterous. What's there is there. Climbing---at least trad climbing---is all about dealing with what is there. No one can possibly be handicapped by having what is there preserved; on the contrary, in a time of unending developmental pressures, preserving what is there is a gift and a service to posterity. I take my sense of responsibility to that posterity seriously and I thoroughly resent the suggestion that my motives are either narrow or selfish.

The gunks is a laboratory. Its a place where we try to balance wild and urban, and if discrete milege markers are going to cut down on social trails and erosion, I am all for it.

Apparently, I need to reiterate that I really don't care much one way or the other if there are signs or mileposts. I would wholeheartedly support them as an antidote to social trails and erosion, if there was any credible evidence that they would have this effect. It doesn't seem to me that social trails are even a problem right now, and I don't believe that cliff-base erosion would be alleviated by signage down on the carriage road. But these are just perceptions, and I am prepared to be convinced otherwise.

What I do care about, and what I feel is worth fighting for, is the concept that the natural environment that supports our sport somehow needs to be continually modified for the convenience of its users. (I am not, dammit, speaking of actions that may be needed to protect the environment!) I see calls for minor conveniences as a possible death-knell for the activity as I have known it, with the potential to deprive---yes---here is a true and enduring deprivation---future generations of the experience legions of climbers have had here in the past. And when Trad Girl thinks the natural cliff environment is analogous to a man-made interstate highway, it is clear that the danger is not theoretical.

Signage to prevent erosion? Sure, if it can help. Signage to possibly save me or anyone else an occasional ten minutes? You gotta be joking.

#14567 - 03/27/05 02:13 PM Re: Guide books do what? [Re: rg@ofmc]
chip Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2679
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
I knew you'd come through RG.

#14568 - 03/27/05 05:29 PM Re: Guide books do what? [Re: rg@ofmc]
Frank Florence Online   content

Registered: 01/05/00
Posts: 529
Loc: moved to Bend
Shortly After RG made his first post to this discussions, I put up a reply of my own in which I interpreted his remarks to infer that the attitude of a climber visiting some crag ought to include a “yearning for adventure.” By introducing that last word to this discussion, I contributed to a group of responses that diverged from RG’s initial point. His latest post explains that the opportunity for adventure by the climber, however defined, wasn’t his emphasis, but rather, that he rejects the idea of introducing alterations to the natural (undeveloped) climbing environment for the sake of convenience. If I’ve misunderstood your argument, RG, I trust you’ll correct me.

RG laments that modifying the experience of climbing, which in this context seems to refer to elements of the approach, such as getting lost and figuring out where a route starts, is a behavior more typical of climbers today than years ago. I have to question the degree to which this is really true in the climbing community, but it certainly isn’t a new view towards nature in our culture. I suspect that just as the climbing community doesn’t exist in isolation from the broader society, there is really nothing especially new about the attitude that nature ought to be improved upon, that is, modified to some degree, in order to make it more deliverable of those bounties, whether tangible resources or intangible experiences, that we desire.

Let’s be honest, what have climbers done for years to the natural environment that they found? They occasionally blazed trees, at times cut them down, sometimes added a little surveyor’s tape, and most typically piled up rock cairns. Why? No doubt at times to help find the trail out, but my guess is that most often it was to help guide the next party in. I have to wonder about how many of the climbers RG referred to meeting at Red Rocks don’t appreciate and use the cairns they find in the Tetons, Cascades, the Winds, or other back country locations and how many haven’t piled up a few stones themselves.

If the above makes me sound like a proponent for signage along the Carriage Road, let me be clear that I’m not. Again, going back to my earlier post, I spoke of a joy of exploration. I could have said the joy of discovery. I recall feeling like I had a pretty good day at the cliffs when, walking down the Carriage Road, I realized that I could use the first pine tree since the Uberfall as a landmark to associate with a climb. It was a little more subtle than looking at the hairpin curve, or an exposed stretch of talus, or a distinctive boulder, guideposts I’d already begun to look for. Now, all these details are available in the published guidebooks in the form of approach topos. That should be enough, although incorporating part of Smike’s idea and posting a similar sort of map at a kiosk would ensure an egalitarian distribution of this information, should owning a guidebook be considered elitist.

While I have a hard time buying RG’s full argument, I fully agree with his concluding concern about preservation. The least alteration to the Gunks environment ultimately means the Gunks experience will have the widest potential appeal to future users, however they define what that experience is. No more signs.

#14569 - 03/28/05 12:30 AM Re: signs. little yellow ones. [Re: Frank Florence]
crackers Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/21/01
Posts: 3424
Loc: pdx
I liked smike's idea of a 'interpretive map' at the uberfall to show where there are trails.

i like the ideas of signs as smike postulated: a simple (here i elaborate) clear and maintained yellow blaze on a rock.

why? because every weekend the gunks sees at least the combined volume of Red Rocks, Wind Rivers, Tetons and maybe even Smith.

why? because this has nothing to do with grades or adventure. it has to do with resource conservation in an area that is under pressure.

RG, MarcC, RAF, other people climbing more than 20 years ago--when RG was sure enough that somebody else with a down sweater on in NYC would be a climber--how far has the ground under Laurel eroded? Sixish? MF? Its obvious from the trees around some of those climbs that it is at least a foot lower than it was when those trees were growing...the trunkstock is above ground. How many people do you NOT recognize?

It is a choice: you pick the slow destruction of the environment in the Trapps with you pick neophytes wandering all over the place wrecking it, or you admit that times have changed and to manage the system, painting the blazes every year might be a good idea.

i bet that every regular on this board is accomplished enough to find the trails, but that's just it, isnt it? its the people wandering away from their cars with bright shiny gear and no accomplishments yet earned that can't find the trails...

{btw frank, i reacted to RG's comments, not yours, above. i thought that comparing guides to newbies was misguided.)

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