Monday, March 28, 2016

Kurt's Korner - Good Neighbors

Next issue to tackle: Although Montana had a history of not reporting climbs, that changed around 1990. I’ve had early climbs in Kootenai reported by others when the Falcon guide came out. Other climbers have done the same. That’s our choice. Today we have the guides.

Montana climbers tend to travel a bunch, especially in winter when our local crags are snowed in. When we visit other areas, we get to enjoy the labor of the climbing family in those states in the form of the routes others have put up. Meanwhile, during the time this blog was down in 2015, climbers in our area continued to be harassed by the vocal minority, and received no support from the Forest Service. The Forest Service even activated a moratorium for new sport routes. The blog being off-line resulted in us letting down other climbers by not giving them access to our routes, as we have to theirs. So let’s change that and say, Come and enjoy them now. The North Rim guide is available for PDF download in the upper right corner of this site, as it always has been. Another guide for some new trad routes will also be out soon.

The group and individuals who have pressured the Forest Service with anti-climbing harassment are definitely of the “not in my neighborhood” type. So, to them, sorry about that. But it’s over now. Print the guidebook and enjoy the routes. Montana is a poor state. The state government promotes inviting your friends to Montana to recreate and spend money. Face the reality.

A few more details of coordinating routes and guidebooks. First thing, I’m retired from the Forest Service (research not leadership). Now the important part: I was also a union steward. As a result, I have problems with FS leadership. For Dwight’s 2nd addition of the Butte guide he and I agreed we wouldn’t put all the areas in the guide. There were plenty of climbs for climbers new to the area and we thought once you completed all the climbs you would be plugged into the local scene and could find the non-published areas. After Dwight passed, I continued this practice in the 3rd edition of the Butte guide. We have a similar situation here in Missoula. Lots of climbs and areas are not published, while plenty are published for new residents and visiting climbers. The Forest Service has indicated they will be developing a climbing management plan in the Bitterroot National Forest. It is hard to manage a recreation activity if you don’t know where it is taking place. At this point in time I don’t feel the climbing community believes it has had a positive experience with the Forest Service. So, I will keep some climbs unknown, just in case. If you are a visiting climber (please bring ID to prove you are not a member of the “not in my neighborhood” group) and need to find some of the unpublished climbs -- just get in touch with me. I have the time to show you around. I’ll take you. Sharing is part of being a good neighbor.

Other ideas to follow...

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