5.16.2006

The Forrest Jump of Arch Bagging?


Dean Potter
Originally uploaded by drewbo.
The first "unofficial arch bagging" climbing manual I ever saw was circling through JH, about 10 years ago. I'm sure it wasn't the first one, nor the last, to be written on the topic.

The handwritten, xeroxed tome was salted with underground flavor ... instructions on how to approach certain arches without Parkies noticing, how to climb others at night, and how to continue a surreptitious climbing practice without getting busted and losing your weed.

So ... Dean Potter climbed the Delicate Arch this month. Was he the first? Very unlikely. Will he be the last? Once again, very unlikely.

Even Patagonia hints at as much in their official "statement," noting that no harm had been done to the "route or the rock." Thank goodness the route is safe.

I guess the bummer to me is that this wasn't a run in with the long arm of the law. It wasn't somebody fighting the good fight so that others might enjoy a taste of adventure and clean air.

Instead, it was an anti-PR stunt. Potter wasn't trying to open access for others to follow after him ... he's practically guaranteed that things will be locked down for good, even on the more remote and oft-climbed arches of those faded and fabled arch-bagging manuals that were laying around the Simpson House.

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