Monday, August 04, 2008
My e-mail to Falcon Guides
"Dear Sir/Madam –
Your company is preparing to release Bob Horan’s “Bouldering Colorado”, a guidebook aiming to more comprehensively cover the outstanding bouldering opportunities found throughout Colorado. While I applaud the idea, it is with great disappointment that I learned that any of the bouldering contained in The Mount Evans Wilderness Area will be included and I hope Falcon will consider removing the section covering Mount Evans’ Area A or any other area located within the Wilderness Area.
Wilderness Areas are secluded spots, miles from roads and development of any kind. They are a place people go to get away, to enjoy the grandeur of the wild, which isn’t easy to do these days. In addition, the Northern Colorado Climbing Coalition has determined that officials for the management agencies in the Mount Evans drainage were not informed, consulted with or otherwise told of the upcoming guidebook’s release. Finally, access to the bouldering opportunities around Mount Evans is tenuous at best at this time. Local climbers are in the process of building relationships with the aforementioned land managers and release of this guidebook may irreparably damage those efforts. In addition, officials for the Wilderness Area are currently assessing spots already suffering climbing-associated impacts in an effort to get ahead of the curve and begin to assess ways we may give of our time to mitigate and/or reduce those impacts.
According to language contained within The Wilderness Act of 1964, Wilderness Areas “… shall be administered for the use and enjoyment of the American people in such manner that will leave them unimpaired for future use and enjoyment as wilderness, and so as to provide for the protection of these areas, the preservation of their wilderness character, and for the gathering and dissemination of information regarding their use and enjoyment as wilderness.” Recreation in Wilderness Areas is expected to be wild and dispersed. Release of this guidebook will certainly increase the total number of climber-days spent inside the boundaries of the Mount Evans Wilderness Area. More climber-days each season means more impacts. With a little logic, it’s easy to see that that more impacts means more administration by officials charged with managing the Mount Evans Wilderness Area.
I have spent close to 100 days inside the boundaries of the Mount Evans Wilderness Area - all without a guide - enjoying the bouldering opportunities that exist within its confines. A guide is unnecessary and by bringing more climbers, who will spent time hunting for the areas and problems not covered by Horan’s guide, social trails and other impacts will multiply.
At a minimum, please consider postponing inclusion of any bouldering found within the confines of the Mount Evans Wilderness Area until a later date. The other major publishers (Sharp End & Wolverine) have responsibly passed on their inclusion in upcoming guidebooks and responsible boulderers hope Falcon will do the same. It is the only choice, as closure of the bouldering areas within The Mount Evans Wilderness Area may be the unacceptable consequence of releasing Bouldering Colorado in its current form.