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roninthorne


Mar 12, 2009, 9:16 AM
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Route closures at Franklin  (North_America: United_States: West_Virginia: Roped_Climbing: Seneca_Rocks_Region: The_Panhandle: Franklin_Gorge)
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Due to intolerable damage and unreasonable impact demonstrating a complete lack of environmental awareness and/or respect for erosion control, trail building and replanting efforts by local and visiting climbers, the following climbs have been chopped or decommissioned for the foreseeable future:

1) Aloha aka Bircham's Other- hangers removed- can be led on gear... with runout
2) Wintermute- top anchors and 1st bolt hanger removed
3) No Stopping the Burn (R and L Variations)- Chopped
4) Castaways- top anchors removed
5) First Aid- top anchors removed
6) Eddie's Arete- top anchors removed- OLD ANCHOR (TREE) IS DEAD!!
7) Captain Hook- top anchor removed
8) Trident- top anchors removed- old face bolts to be replaced this summer
9) Anchors Away- top anchors removed
10) Super Amazing Sea Monkeys- top anchors and top hanger removed
11) Keelhauled- no anchor, all face bolt hangers removed- will be rebolted 6/09
12) Belly of the Whale- chopped
13) Skid Marks- top anchors removed

The majority of the damage occured on Sunday, March 8, 2009, when a large group over-ran this area with arrogant disregard for impact or repercussions. Mulched surfaces, erosion controls, and plants purchased out of pocket by a fixed-income volunteer and carried up from the parking area by visiting students from Vermont, were heavily damaged by foot traffic within an area that is bounded on two sides by well-built trails. It is ironic that restoration efforts which survived last summer's drought and this winter's heavy winds and storms were almost obliterated in a single day by a single ignorant group.

That this is a pathetic representation of our climbing community to landowners, the local NFS (for whom Franklin is a less-than-stellar picture of climber self-regulation), and the young climbers who worked so hard to repair previous damages, goes without saying. Apparently, the Leave No Trace ethic is unknown to those who so thoughtlessly damaged this area.

Unfortunately, they are not alone in this regard. Most groups seem oblivious to or unconcerned about the impact they leave behind, both on private and public lands, or the impressions they leave with non-climbers.

If you have complaints concerning this action, take them up with the (ir)responsible group(s). While it is a shame that the entire climbing community must suffer for the actions of a group of fools, the loss of a few climbs is far preferable to the loss of the entire crag.

Michael Gray, Franklin, WV March 11, 2009


TimePenguin


Mar 12, 2009, 10:43 AM
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Re: [roninthorne] Route closures at Franklin [In reply to]
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Mike,

You are a complete dickhead, and probably the most pathetic representation of our climbing community, climbers in general, and perhaps even the human race that i have ever had to deal with. You asked us to take up our complaints with the irresponsible parties, so that is exactly what I am doing. YOU, Mike, are the irresponsible one. You have absolutely no authority or jurisdiction in Franklin. It is not your land. You do not own it. You are not the most seasoned climber there. You are not the only steward. And yet you have, at least in your own warped mind, deemed yourself the renegade policeman and environmental authority on the area--even though mulch and non-indigenous plants are not even remotely environmentally sound practices in the first place.

It is hilarious that you even use the word "community" when you refuse to act as a part of or on behalf of any concept of community. You refuse to grant anyone else reasonable access to even speak or reason with the ACTUAL landowners who have authority on the land, and you clearly skew the information you do give them based on every bullshit post, warning, sign I've ever had to read with your name on it. You are also combative rather than cooperative with all of us who attempt to climb at Franklin amidst your constant over-surveilance and hastling. You have never offered a single CONSTRUCTIVE way to solve what you see as the problem, merely threats of chopping bolts that exceed your real authority in the area.

Your current solution is unacceptable for any number of reasons. Foremost, to take such drastic and counterproductive actions based on the actions of one group is ridiculous. If they did actually trample the area (which, based on past accounts, I have no reason to believe), then yes they are in the wrong and should know better, but you can't punish the entire community based on the actions of a few people we don't know, can't contact, and probably won't ever see at Franklin again. They won't learn a lesson, and the rest of us who are responsible didn't have a lesson to learn in the first place.

Perhaps more important, your actions have created an unsafe environment for those who do continue to climb. By only removing the top anchors, there is no indication from the ground that the climb is incomplete. This will lead even seasoned climbers to begin the climb and be forced later to look for anchors that no long exist, possibly making them climb higher looking for a run-out, or at the very least lowering from a single bolt probably at the expense of their own gear. While seasoned climbers can probably get out of such a situation, beginners and others are in danger of being greatly injured. Even chopping first bolts in addition won't deter some people with a stick clip or a braver lead-head from getting into the same situation. ANYONE who is injured at Frankin on any of these climbs is YOUR responsibility and yours alone, Mike. In your misguided and unauthorized attempt to teach a lesson--because it can't even be called an attempt to solve any recognized problem--you have put the safety, health, and even lives of your climbing community in jeopardy.

Do the climbing community and the area of Franklin a favor and LEAVE. You are the greatest obstacle in creating a more cooperative and beneficial climbing community in the area. You are the greatest hindrance to its proper maintenance. Your accusations are baseless, your cooperation nonexistent, and your actions detrimental to the safety of climbers and the proper stewardship of the area. STOP misusing authority that you don't even have in the first place to cause more damage and harm than good. Leave, dickhead Mike, leave. If you only understand your own brand of vigilante "justice," then one day very soon some of us will become so frustrated that we will be willing to oblige.


mike_devildog


Mar 12, 2009, 11:19 AM
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Re: [TimePenguin] Route closures at Franklin [In reply to]
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WORD..sounds like a fucking crag nazi!


IsayAutumn


Mar 12, 2009, 12:21 PM
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Re: [TimePenguin] Route closures at Franklin [In reply to]
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Great....so is it even worth going to Franklin now, if all of these routes are down? I was hoping to make a trip sometime end of March.

Who is this Mike man? Is he the one cutting the bolts and taking down anchors? Who made him Pope of this dump anyway?

It is a shame that a careless group of people had such poor ethics. Is it worth shutting down all of these climbs for it?


bandycoot


Mar 12, 2009, 12:27 PM
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Re: [roninthorne] Route closures at Franklin [In reply to]
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I don't know the specifics, but if you're just acting on your own to chop bolts that's weak. If you're going to talk about the community, who did you consult before taking action? Why "must" the community lose the cliff to protect the whole crag? Who was going to close the whole crag? We have a guy who does the same kinda single handed bolt chopping stuff here in San Diego. Truly a shame.... Everyone seems to lose.

By the way, it's complete BS that YOU chop the bolts and then tell people to take it up with the wayward group. Instead of knee jerk reaction, why don't you educate and work with problem groups? Put signs up that vegetation recovery is in progress. Most people will pay attention.

When it comes to Access, we need to take a long term constructive stance, not an over-reactive destructive stance.

Josh


Shonic


Mar 12, 2009, 12:27 PM
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Re: [mike_devildog] Route closures at Franklin [In reply to]
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Mike,

I have a couple of questions:

- What was your basis for chopping these particular routes?
- Any other routes we are to expect chopped any time soon?
- Will you continue choppin if we rebolt them?
- How long are we to expect you to continue vandalizing the area?
- Any other areas you are looking forward to "patronize"?

The climbing community would greatly appreciate your answers.
In reply to:


rjbonz


Mar 12, 2009, 12:38 PM
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Re: [roninthorne] Route closures at Franklin [In reply to]
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Mike, while I do not have all the information relevant to the destruction, and I personally do not know you, it is quite clear from this bulletin and the many e-mails I have received today that no one in the Community of Climbers was made aware of the situation. I do very much feel empathy for your frustration. A lot of work over the years has gone into Franklin for which deserves great praise. I love climbing at Franklin. At the same time, I do think that if at least a small group of climbers were conferred. a more reasonable, balanced and frankly better formulated solution could have been achieved; e.g., a letter of concern composed and sent to the guilty party along with a request for them to repair the damages they caused. Now a lot of Climbers are very upset and we have two situations to deal with: 1) how to deal with getting the destruction repaired, and 2) how to get these routes safe again. Do you have any productive recommendations on either?

Robert Borotkanics


justjessy


Mar 12, 2009, 12:52 PM
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Re: [roninthorne] Route closures at Franklin [In reply to]
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Mike,
You obviously care a lot about the area - but do you care about the climbing community, too? We all want to take care of the crag, why didn't you reach out to the community to help repair the damage done by the group last weekend?

You put a lot of time and effort into erosion controls and trailwork and it's frustrating to see hard work destroyed, but how is chopping bolts going to solve anything? Who knows if that big group will even be back to climb there ever. A better solution would be to have something like the Access Fund's effort last year to clean graffiti left by vandals at Franklin.

I agree with the others that chopping anchors puts climbers at risk, but it also spreads bad feeling through the community. People will feel less willing to cooperate with restoration efforts in the future. Unilateral action undermines the cohesion of the community, and weakens the power of the community's values in the long run.

I think the appropriate action is to take the matter to the Access Fund. I hope whomever can will help repair the damage that was done this week - to the trails AND to the climbs.


flatstateclimber


Mar 12, 2009, 2:01 PM
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Re: Route closures at Franklin [In reply to]
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I'm new(ish) to the area. It's ironic that while I was making the approach hike that very same Sunday with my crew of three that I was talking about the very same issues that Mike expresses his concern for. It was my first trip to Franklin, and frankly, I was glad to be outside. I've been to so-called afterwork crags before, the ones that seem to get little respect and probably deserve it more because they see that much more use.

What our discussion branched into was how many people are introduced into climbing at a gym, pulling on plastic these days. More often than not, their first trip outside is with fellow gym-dwellers that may or may not have a strong outdoor ethic or respect. It is even more important for the elders (read: more experienced climbers) to instruct them in this way.

Don't grumble about it after the fact. Do something about it while you can. While that person is in your vision, say something. Don't be a prick, but make your point well. If enough of us do that, it ought to sink in, or they'll quit climbing because they're tired of getting hassled. One way or the other we'll improve our crags: either through smarter climbers or attrition of the disrespectful ones.


oldhippywithdog


Mar 12, 2009, 2:51 PM
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Re: [roninthorne] Route closures at Franklin [In reply to]
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I am disgusted with the actions you have taken mike. I agree whole heartedly with posts so far suggesting your actions are rash, dangerous, irreverent, and counterproductive. I also agree that you are a greater hinderance to Franklin than an asset. Some one once replied to a post of yours suggesting 'honey catches more flies than vinegar' or something alone those lines. I would take this a step further and suggest that you are using rat poison.
You may have a very small group of very local people working very hard to keep franklin clean but YOU and your accusations and general hate are keeping the larger community from coming together at Franklin. Personally, a large reason I have not attended these clean ups is knowing you would be there.
I'd also like to point out that is not so simple for the majority of climbers to take off a day to drive 3 hours each way to clean up a crag we visit a few times a year. 6 hours travel, a day of labor, and dealing with a self-righteous, self-appointed "community leader"...what a day. Sign me up. Its amazing you expect anyone to help you accomplish your goals when all you do is yell at them and punish them. Most clean up organizers do everything in their power to make every clean up seem like a great time and a huge success so that the next one will be a great(er) time and a huge(r) success.

Honestly, good luck. I'd hate to see Franklin get closed but I think that you are traveling the most direct path to that end. Consider making the area a greater asset to the community if you want their help in sustaining access.


minibiter


Mar 12, 2009, 3:08 PM
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Re: [roninthorne] Route closures at Franklin [In reply to]
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Mike-

Chopping the top anchors without chopping the rest of the route is dangerous, and in the fairly likely event someone gets hurt from it, you're to blame. You know this, you know it's hard to see the rings from the bottom of most of those climbs, you know some of those climbs are pumpy and don't have great stances to clip the anchors from, and you know the falls from some of those anchors would have you on ledges or knocking heads with a roof at the bottom of a 30' whipper.

So if you're going to chop a route, chop the whole route so people can see it before they get into a dangerous situation.

Better yet, just stop. You're making it a dangerous pain in the ass to climb there and you're alienating a lot of people who might help with maintenance if you didn't piss them off. There's an old saying that you catch more flies with honey, and I see a lot more DDT coming from you than honey.

I hope no one gets hurt because of your bolt-stripping, but if they do, it'll be your fault. I wouldn't want that on my conscience.

Joe Thompson.


notapplicable


Mar 12, 2009, 5:06 PM
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Re: [minibiter] Route closures at Franklin [In reply to]
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First and foremost I should say that although I know why Mike took the actions he did, I disagree with his choice to modify routes instead of just walking away and letting Franklin (for better or worse) face it's future with out him. That said, a couple of points...


1. To everyone whos post started with "I don't know all be details but..." or "I'm new here but..." (which is most of you), your right. You don't know all the details of how this situation came about or the history of Mikes involvement with the crag. Just like everything else in life, nothing is black and white and this is no different. It might surprise you but Mike is not evil incarnate. Actually he's a pretty nice guy.


2. The Access Fund has expressed little interest in getting involved in Franklin and after promising aid for the last trail day (one of many organized and funded by Mike) they flaked out and didn't show up or even call to let people know they weren't coming. I would not count on them to swoop in and take over care of Franklin. If that crag is gonna see continual maintenance, it's going to have to come from the community


2. To those who are making a lot of noise about how dangerous it is for a route to be missing it's top anchors, that's total bullshit. If a person can not either safely fall from or accept the consequences of a fall from any position they climb themselves in to, they should not climb in to that position. I've pumped out and botched clips at a bunch of anchors, just about everyone has and if you haven't yet, you will soon enough. Doesn't matter if it's trad or sport, if you don't find the anchor situation you expected then you top out, down climb or take the ride. Simple as that.


notapplicable


Mar 12, 2009, 5:12 PM
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Re: [notapplicable] Route closures at Franklin [In reply to]
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Mike,


Just walk away man.

There are many a rarely traveled climbing oasis scattered through out WV. Go have fun and let Franklin find it's own fate.


flatstateclimber


Mar 12, 2009, 5:25 PM
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Re: [notapplicable] Route closures at Franklin [In reply to]
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notapplicable wrote:
1. To everyone whos post started with "I don't know all be details but..." or "I'm new here but..." (which is most of you), your right. You don't know all the details of how this situation came about or the history of Mikes involvement with the crag. Just like everything else in life, nothing is black and white and this is no different. It might surprise you but Mike is not evil incarnate. Actually he's a pretty nice guy.

Agreed. He was around on Sunday when we were winding up our day on Jump Start. He knew the woman I was climbing with and talked for quite a while with the other guy while I cleaned the route. I enjoyed his stories, as I do of most locals when I'm new to an area. That said, I stand by what I said about the large group in question and our responsibility to educate them about LNT ethics. I don't know if anything transpired between him and that group.

I'm not convinced that the public face that you see when you meet him and the anonymous bolt chopping Internet face are one and the same.


kovacs69


Mar 12, 2009, 6:10 PM
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Re: [roninthorne] Route closures at Franklin [In reply to]
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roninthorne wrote:
Due to intolerable damage and unreasonable impact demonstrating a complete lack of environmental awareness and/or respect for erosion control, trail building and replanting efforts by local and visiting climbers, the following climbs have been chopped or decommissioned for the foreseeable future:

1) Aloha aka Bircham's Other- hangers removed- can be led on gear... with runout
2) Wintermute- top anchors and 1st bolt hanger removed
3) No Stopping the Burn (R and L Variations)- Chopped
4) Castaways- top anchors removed
5) First Aid- top anchors removed
6) Eddie's Arete- top anchors removed- OLD ANCHOR (TREE) IS DEAD!!
7) Captain Hook- top anchor removed
8) Trident- top anchors removed- old face bolts to be replaced this summer
9) Anchors Away- top anchors removed
10) Super Amazing Sea Monkeys- top anchors and top hanger removed
11) Keelhauled- no anchor, all face bolt hangers removed- will be rebolted 6/09
12) Belly of the Whale- chopped
13) Skid Marks- top anchors removed

The majority of the damage occured on Sunday, March 8, 2009, when a large group over-ran this area with arrogant disregard for impact or repercussions. Mulched surfaces, erosion controls, and plants purchased out of pocket by a fixed-income volunteer and carried up from the parking area by visiting students from Vermont, were heavily damaged by foot traffic within an area that is bounded on two sides by well-built trails. It is ironic that restoration efforts which survived last summer's drought and this winter's heavy winds and storms were almost obliterated in a single day by a single ignorant group.

That this is a pathetic representation of our climbing community to landowners, the local NFS (for whom Franklin is a less-than-stellar picture of climber self-regulation), and the young climbers who worked so hard to repair previous damages, goes without saying. Apparently, the Leave No Trace ethic is unknown to those who so thoughtlessly damaged this area.

Unfortunately, they are not alone in this regard. Most groups seem oblivious to or unconcerned about the impact they leave behind, both on private and public lands, or the impressions they leave with non-climbers.

If you have complaints concerning this action, take them up with the (ir)responsible group(s). While it is a shame that the entire climbing community must suffer for the actions of a group of fools, the loss of a few climbs is far preferable to the loss of the entire crag.

Michael Gray, Franklin, WV March 11, 2009

For posterity.


notapplicable


Mar 12, 2009, 6:27 PM
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Re: [flatstateclimber] Route closures at Franklin [In reply to]
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flatstateclimber wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
1. To everyone whos post started with "I don't know all be details but..." or "I'm new here but..." (which is most of you), your right. You don't know all the details of how this situation came about or the history of Mikes involvement with the crag. Just like everything else in life, nothing is black and white and this is no different. It might surprise you but Mike is not evil incarnate. Actually he's a pretty nice guy.

Agreed. He was around on Sunday when we were winding up our day on Jump Start. He knew the woman I was climbing with and talked for quite a while with the other guy while I cleaned the route. I enjoyed his stories, as I do of most locals when I'm new to an area. That said, I stand by what I said about the large group in question and our responsibility to educate them about LNT ethics. I don't know if anything transpired between him and that group.


I agree with you that the duty of educating the new or misguided members of our community falls to the veterans. Thing is, Mike has been doing that for a long time now and it has just come to a boiling point. No, he has not always taken the best approach and he can be a bit too passionate and hard edged for his own good but that's just his way. I don't agree with everything he says and does but he has poured a lot of himself in to Franklin and we have all benefited from his work. Thats whats so disappointing about these bolt choppings. All that work is going to go to waste if access is jeopardized because of crag politics.



flatstateclimber wrote:
I'm not convinced that the public face that you see when you meet him and the anonymous bolt chopping Internet face are one and the same.


There is nothing anonymous about his "internet face". His full name and phone number are plastered all over this and other websites.


Shonic


Mar 12, 2009, 8:05 PM
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Re: [roninthorne] Route closures at Franklin [In reply to]
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Removing anchors is a criminal action similar to taking away a stop sign at the intersection. If anybody gets hurt because of this, I will be the first one to file a suite against you, Mike, because it will be your fault and maybe it will teach other raging lunatics. It's a personal loss for me not be able to climb in Franklin again, but I do not feel safe there while you, Mike, are lurking around.

What's the next action, chop the bolts and glue them back to pretend nothing happened?

Do you have kids? What would you feel if your 17 yo daughter that primarily climbs in the gym and does not have a gazillion years of experience got to the top to find out there were no anchors there? What would she do? What would her mother do to YOU if anything happened to her kid?

BURN IN HELL, MIKE


DrGoBig


Mar 12, 2009, 8:31 PM
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Re: [notapplicable] Route closures at Franklin [In reply to]
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I disagree with Mike's actions, but I think the goal here was to get our attention. I know that I spread the word, so I guess he succeeded.

Heres an interesting, quick analysis of the routes altered:

1) Aloha aka Bircham's Other- hangers removed- can be led on gear... with runout

Mike was part of a joint FA/bolting

2) Wintermute- top anchors and 1st bolt hanger removed

Mike was part of a joint FA/bolting

3) No Stopping the Burn (R and L Variations)- Chopped

Mike was part of a joint FA/bolting

4) Castaways- top anchors removed

This is a pretty well bolted 5.8 that everyone leads. Groups kinda set up base camp here and it bugs him because of impact... on rockclimbing.com:

Currently closed to climbing, Castaways is the standard group TR and first lead at Franklin. The incredible impact is obvious when you understand that the first bolt was once one move off the ground, and that the area across the trail was too thick with mountain laurel to walk through. Climb the pocketed face past 4 bolts to reach ring anchors.

5) First Aid- top anchors removed

The anchor was simply webbing on a tree with rings

6) Eddie's Arete- top anchors removed- OLD ANCHOR (TREE) IS DEAD!!

I guess the anchor had to be removed anyway if the tree was dead.

7) Captain Hook- top anchor removed

bolted by his friend Mike Fisher, Im guessing he had permission from FA to take it down

8) Trident- top anchors removed- old face bolts to be replaced this summer

I guess he plans to reopen this if he plans to rebolt the face bolts

9) Anchors Away- top anchors removed

he was part of a joint FA

10) Super Amazing Sea Monkeys- top anchors and top hanger removed

dont understand the logic on this one

11) Keelhauled- no anchor, all face bolt hangers removed- will be rebolted 6/09

plans to rebolt it I guess

12) Belly of the Whale- chopped

he did FA

13) Skid Marks- top anchors removed

was a trad climb with anchors, dont understand the logic on this one

So 5 of the 13 routes he has FA on.

1 route was bolted by Mike Fisher, and maybe Mike Gray got the okay from him. Just guessing though...

1 route had a bum anchor on a bad tree that was taken down.

2 routes will be replaced with new gear this Summer.

I believe that Mike views Castaways as a source of trail erosion, large groups setting base camp up, etc. These are some of the things that bothered him most, so I see his reasoning.

Removing the anchors to First Aid consists of removing webbing from a tree.

2 of the routes seemed random.

Besides those two routes, it seems as if there is some method to the closures. It seems like he tried to make the biggest impact to make a statement while mostly closing his own routes, a couple routes that he saw groups camping out in front of (Castaways/First Aid), and a few routes that need upgrades. Finally, there were a couple routes that seemed random.

Let me reiterate that I'm not a fan of the closures, but for me, a tangential ethical question is raised. Mike has stated that he has permission from the landlord to chop all the routes at Franklin (which I hope he does not do.) For almost half of the routes he altered he was part of the FA/bolting. At other crags, without similar background issues, is it normally considered ethical for the FAist to do anything he pleases with the route/bolts after establishing the route?

(This post was edited by DrGoBig on Mar 12, 2009, 8:49 PM)


notapplicable


Mar 12, 2009, 9:06 PM
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Shonic wrote:
Removing anchors is a criminal action similar to taking away a stop sign at the intersection. If anybody gets hurt because of this, I will be the first one to file a suite against you, Mike, because it will be your fault and maybe it will teach other raging lunatics. It's a personal loss for me not be able to climb in Franklin again, but I do not feel safe there while you, Mike, are lurking around.

What's the next action, chop the bolts and glue them back to pretend nothing happened?

Do you have kids? What would you feel if your 17 yo daughter that primarily climbs in the gym and does not have a gazillion years of experience got to the top to find out there were no anchors there? What would she do? What would her mother do to YOU if anything happened to her kid?

BURN IN HELL, MIKE

Your so full of shit. There are plenty of good arguments against Mikes actions, this is not one.

If a person is leading a route then they are at risk of taking a fall at any point during the climb, including while face to face with the anchor. If someone finds an anchor missing they either top out and sling a tree, top out and walk off, down climb or jump and take a lead fall. Non of which are a big deal at all. They carry with them no greater risk than the climbing that lead to the missing anchors.

I mean honestly, how is a person gonna get anymore hurt while falling from the prior location of an anchor, than falling while trying to clip an anchor that is in place.


WVUCLMBR


Mar 13, 2009, 6:32 AM
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Re: [roninthorne] Route closures at Franklin [In reply to]
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Thanks Mike, I was completely burnout on rc.com, but this thread has made me realize that wading thru the pool of rc bs is sometimes worth it.

So WVUCLMBR is back, I'm gonna be less talkative, but I'll be around.

And yes Adatesman, I know I still owe you a Coopers big wall documentary.

Oh, and Franklin sucks, so I could really give 2 shytes less what you chop.

Bryan...


mwunder424


Mar 13, 2009, 7:23 AM
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Re: [TimePenguin] Route closures at Franklin [In reply to]
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Wow... You could try to disagree with some class. Have you ever helped fix a trail, lay the stone, clean up trash/dead goats or fund the development.... or did you simply take? - Like so many others.... Mike did not take... even now he is not taking away, he is trying to prevent it from all being lost.

Yes he can be gruff, but you obviously are no gentleman either.

When have you contributed?


flatstateclimber


Mar 13, 2009, 7:36 AM
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Re: [notapplicable] Route closures at Franklin [In reply to]
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notapplicable wrote:
I agree with you that the duty of educating the new or misguided members of our community falls to the veterans. Thing is, Mike has been doing that for a long time now and it has just come to a boiling point. No, he has not always taken the best approach and he can be a bit too passionate and hard edged for his own good but that's just his way. I don't agree with everything he says and does but he has poured a lot of himself in to Franklin and we have all benefited from his work. Thats whats so disappointing about these bolt choppings. All that work is going to go to waste if access is jeopardized because of crag politics.

I misspoke. I know he's not being anonymous. Perhaps confrontational versus the friendly guy I met on Sunday. My first impression of him was a good one. The next thing I hear is this, less than a week after my first trip to Franklin. So while I was still on a high from that outing, I was brought back down. I don't have the knowledge of the area or the history to make any judgments about anyone. I'll be more than happy to help out with a trail day, but I live three hours away and cannot come during the work week to do so.


Shonic


Mar 13, 2009, 7:54 AM
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Re: [notapplicable] Route closures at Franklin [In reply to]
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I suppose you don't have teenage climbers in the house...

I can give you several scenarios that while being annoying but a matter of fact no problem situation for an experienced outdoor climber, the similar - no anchors found - situation can be deadly for a gymrat teen. I climbed for 25 years all over the world. Not having top anchors is a ridiculous way to spoil the climb for seasoned athletes and possibly a death trap for newbies. Climb out in Franklin is not too bad, but might lead to a serious fall, trying to recover your gear and not loose a quickdraw is another issue. How many falls occurred when unexperienced climbers tried to leave a small sling and got lowered to death or injury when they threaded the rope straight through the sling? or design a "system" to pull the rope through? Or using and old quickdraw that was left behind by another party? it all sounds stupid I bet for a macho like you. But knowingly, without any valid reasons creating situations like that is a crime. In my books. Having a psycho like Mike running around "policing" a small crag is developing from being plain ridiculous into rather dangerous.


keegan540


Mar 13, 2009, 8:06 AM
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Re: [roninthorne] Route closures at Franklin [In reply to]
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All I see is a bunch of people bitching about someone chopping their own routes to reduce the damage being done to an area of Franklin. Mike has every right to chop routes he put up. I hear a lot of spouting off about not having the right to chop routes and having to protect your gym climbing daughter. For starters if you're not able to rescue yourself from a sticky situation (no top anchor) than you shouldn't be climbing without a more experienced mentor. Second, and this one pertains to most of the whiners, if you've never lifted a finger at a crag or spent time and money bolting routes then shut the hell up. Mike has put up a lot of routes for other people to enjoy. He is far from a crag nazi. One small section of routes has been closed, big deal. Go climb the other 50 routes he has put up. Or better yet, go to Franklin, do some FA's, and then wait for the busloads to come and tear them up. We'll see how long it takes you to start bitching. Mike is a great asset to our community and without his hard work and efforts there would be no Franklin. All of you whiners would have to stay with your daughters in the gym.

Rock on Mike, Tall Brian has me pumped up on some new routes so I'm sure I'll see you later.

Keegan


(This post was edited by keegan540 on Mar 13, 2009, 8:13 AM)


TimePenguin


Mar 13, 2009, 8:12 AM
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Re: [mwunder424] Route closures at Franklin [In reply to]
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Just making sure your question was directed specifically at me before I get into the specifics of the three trail days I attended specifically at Franklin (which, as one other poster pointed out, involves driving 3 hours each way, and which I also stopped attending primarily because I couldn't tolerate even a few hours in Mike's presence); the 20+ other trail maintenance projects I've helped with around MD and VA; the 5 or 6 trail days I've organized independently; and the 5 years I spent as a guide where I taught LNT and outdoor ethics almost as adamantly as climbing skills and safety.

Also, Mike did take. He chopped bolts. Taking off hangers is one thing, but chopping bolts for anything other than safety reasons is environmentally unforgivable. NOTHING about climbing is more damaging to the environment than physically drilling into the rock. Not even years of trail use (or misuse). Thats why, e.g. in Red Rocks there is a $300 PER BOLT fine for unauthorized bolting. I'm primarily a sport climber, so I'd never suggest bolting on the whole is bad, but it should be done minimally. Clearly, chopping a good bolt to prove a point and then putting in another one a few feet away weeks or months later is irresponsible and hypocritical if the goal is to promote environmental awareness.

I am a gentleman 99% of the time, but my tolerance wears thin when someone oversteps their bounds repeatedly and takes actions that are both contradictory to their supposed goals and unsafe for others. His intentions aside, Mike's actions and gruff demeanor make him a poor steward for Franklin, a negative force in creating a sense of climbing community there, and a terrible representation of the climbing ethic as a whole.

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