Detailed article on a battle against a proposed ban on fixed climbing anchors that started out with one park, but then grew to a possible ban for the whole country.
It all started in
Sawtooth Wilderness where the area’s supervisor, Bill Levere, completed an
inch-and-a-half-thick management plan for Sawtooth. His job is to preserve the
park so his decision was, in this management plan, to ban the use of fixed
climbing anchors, pitons, and slings on all of the new climbing routes in the area.
This started to cause a lot of controversy for the people who enjoyed climbing
in the park, and then began to cause controversy for the people who climb all
over the country. After Levere filed this request, the bureaucratic tectonics
of the federal government had elevated this to a nationwide policy. This is now
affecting all wilderness areas managed by the Forest Service. It was said to be
the biggest threat to climbing in the last 20 years. Right now, they are in the
process of making a compromise. They want to preserve the environment, and be
able to climb the extraordinary routes the United States has to offer. But it
will be difficult to reach that compromise between environmental groups and
I have never gone climbing before, so for the climbers whom are fighting for the fixed climbing equipment in the wilderness areas, I can’t say I would fully be on their side. But if climbing is something they love doing, I can relate to that. I do understand the environmentalists’ point of view, though. I see where they’re coming from, but I don’t see how a few bolts in a rock can have a huge impact on the environment. This hasn’t really inspired me to go out and try climbing because I’m not very good with heights and I wouldn’t trust the fixed anchors. However, this article has brought my attention to the sport of climbing and to see that people are very passionate about it.
Galvin, John. “Hey Bob, Can You Tie Me Off to That Pika?” Outside: Number 73. December 1998: pg 40