Friday, October 21, 2011

Guided Climbing Threatened in the National Parks



Some National Parks are not fans of guided access for the public that would like to experience a park with a guide.  Unfortunately, there are a few individuals in these parks that don't see the value of such an experience.

Leigh Goldberg, the Access Director at the American Mountain Guides Association, has drafted the following letter:

The National Park Service wants to ban guided climbing and prohibit members of the public from being able to climb with a professional guide in one of our country's most adventurous wilderness climbing areas. This is a national threat, which could set a debilitating precedent for guided climbing access in National Parks across the country. We are requesting your urgent support to help preserve guided climbing access in the Black Canyon as well as in other National Parks the U.S.

Here is how you can help:

Send an email to Ken_Stahlnecker@nps.gov today using the talking points below. Our goal is to have 500 people (who are not guides) contact Ken Stahlnecker opposing the Park's plan to ban guided climbing in the Black Canyon and urging the Park to preserve guiding climbing access in this unique venue.

Dear Ken Stahlnecker,
Chief, Resource Stewardship and Science
National Park Service,
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

I am writing to urge you to keep guided climbing access available to the American public. Along with Yosemite National Park and Red Rocks National Conservation Area, the Black Canyon is one of only a few climbing venues in the country offering big wall climbing opportunities. There is often a scarcity of willing and adequate climbing partners to tackle the bold and remote terrain of the Black. Because climbing requires a team of two unless one is free soloing, my options for experiencing this unique wilderness area will be substantially reduced or eliminated altogether if guided climbing is banned in the Inner Canyon Zone.

Having the option to climb with a professional guide is necessary for me to be able to experience the vertical wilderness in the Black Canyon. Partnering with a professional guide will enhance my opportunity for an experience of adventure, challenge and self-reliance. I see no difference between climbing with a professional guide and climbing with a non-guide partner who happens to be stronger or more experienced than me. It is not uncommon for climbing partners to be of varying levels of experience. Climbing successfully in the Black always requires the self-reliance, commitment and personal fortitude of both climbing partners regardless of their varying experience levels.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide my opinion on this important matter.
--Jason D. Martin

3 comments:

marti124 said...

sershCare to share a link to the "regulation" you mention. Thanks.

marti124 said...

Care to share a link to the "regulation" you mention. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ken Stahlnecker,
Chief, Resource Stewardship and Science
National Park Service,
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park


I am writing in opposition to the proposed ban of use of professsional guide services for climbing in the Black Canyon.

The use of a professional guide enables a person such as myself, who is advancing in age, to be able to continue to climb challenging venues, where I would probably not be able to do so safely without access to such services with my various age and physical imparements. This starts to become an ADA issue which is a simple mitigation when a guide is available to assist me. Without a guide, the dangers are much more significant.

Additionally, my observation is that guides, who are always trained at various levels of advanced first aid, are always immediately ready to help with any accident that occurs with any other party on scene, much quicker than any SAR unit that is deployed hours later.

I have also personally observed guides prevent many, many, MANY tragedies from happening, by observing and intervening when people were doing something really set up for an awful outcome. These never get reported, but the guides have the respect and authority to get listened to, and the "mini rescues" that they also perform are never credited.

In reality, the guide services serve as an onsite extension of SAR and of the Agency. I personally observe them pick up trash and litter, help people in trouble, give advice to those who need it, and just make the place better.

We are all better off for their presence.

Ken Murray, MD.