Potter´s Plea On Delicate Arch

A couple of weeks ago we reported that Dean Potter had made the first ascent of Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Utah. The solo ascent caused a real stir, with many people siding with the state in condemning the defacement of a national monument, and others supporting his non destructive actions. Below is a statement from his sponsor Patagonia, a company world renowned for its pro-active stance on ethical issues, and a statement from Dean himself. From Patagonia: Many individuals have asked us where we, as a company, stand on Dean´s recent climb. Since last week, Patagonia has received hundreds of emails on the issue, many asking for a public stance. First of foremost, we support Dean as our Ambassador. He´s part of our family and will continue to be. For those who are curious to see Patagonia´s “official stance” on the subject, read on: Patagonia ambassador Dean Potter´s May 7 free solo of Delicate Arch has generated significant controversy about the legality and appropriateness of the climb of what has been described as a national icon. We´ll be interested to follow the controversy and to listen to views of those on both sides. A few facts are in order. First, no crime has been committed. The National Park Service has conceded that its regulations were ambiguous and that they will not cite Dean for the ascent. They have said they will seek to clarify their regulations to prevent a second try. The Park and a number of opinion leaders have argued that Delicate Arch is an icon that should not be climbed. It is important to note that Dean did no harm to the route or to the rock. He free-soloed the arch, placing no anchors and creating no impact beyond blowing dust off the holds. As he says, “No one reveres rocks more than me. I consider all rocks sacred, as do most climbers.” Dean, like all Patagonia ambassadors, undertakes his own climbs on his own terms. He told us about the climb afterward. We have taken positions in the past on a number of issues of climbing ethics, including bolting. We take no position on this one. As Casey Sheahan, our CEO, notes, “From the early days in the Tetons to the rebelliousness of Yosemite´s Camp 4, every generation of climbers has had its run-ins with government regulations that attempt to restrict climber´s freedom of expression. At Patagonia we don´t control the ways our sponsored athletes conduct themselves except to encourage respect for the environment and uncommon approaches to every challenge. Dean is at the pinnacle of free solo climbing, makes decisions for himself, and has our complete support.” From Dean: Dear everyone, Patagonia is being flooded with complaints by people who are saying I broke the law, hurt the environment and disrespected nature by free soloing Delicate Arch. None of those accusations are true, but people keep repeating them. It would help morale and give a balanced set of comments if they heard from people who support judgments based on fact. Here are the facts. You would be doing me and Steph a favor if you would either put this message in your own words or just copy and paste it into an email, then send it to the CEO of Patagonia: euro_hotline@patagonia.comAdditionally, if you have time, a phone call would be great. The free number is 1-888-344-4567 x4802. Please keep it short if you do call….”I support Dean and his climb of Delicate Arch. It´s in line with Patagonia 100%.” Also, please forward this to other people you know who would send this message. The more the better, as there have been a lot of complainers. Thanks, Dean “I object to the criticism of Dean´s climb of Delicate Arch. It was not illegal. No harm was done to the rock. It is unfair and libelous to criticize Dean on the basis of inaccurate reports and unsubstantiated opinions. I respect Dean´s no impact climbing style, and I think it is completely in line with  Patagonia´s strong environmental ethics. Thank you for supporting Dean.”