Kinder Kind Of Climbers

In the nearly 1,000 posts about Junipergate on Supertopo I found at least one redeeming item in the form of this post on Wavehaven Adventures:

If someone proclaims that they are the most influential rock star around, then they better be able to produce the whole package. The package, as the saying goes, is that with freedom comes responsibility. Kinder’s freedom to climb just about anywhere in the world as a professional climber is an incredible luxury. One might think that as a world wide climbing ambassador he would follow basic ethical standards set forth through the collective climbing community. He botched it big time by breaking that trust, but in some ways so has the climbing community. Trashing him is so blatantly counter-productive. If the community would stop bitching him out and take a deep breath we might actually get something more constructive out of this- like giving Kinder a chance to redeem himself.

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12 Responses to Kinder Kind Of Climbers

  1. Ryan October 23, 2013 at 8:00 am #

    If it wasn’t for the blatant and widespread “trashing,” he never would have come clean. Regardless, the backlash may have been over the top.

    It was good to read Petzl’s response to his actions: http://www.petzl.com/us/outdoor/news/in-field-0/2013/10/22/response-petzl-athlete-joe-kinders-actions-in-california

    It sounds like he understands the impact of what he did (whether or not he truly feels remorse). We should give him a chance to redeem himself.

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    • Narc October 23, 2013 at 8:25 am #

      Perhaps so, but it’s hard to argue that death threats and posting his phone number on the internet were anything but unacceptable.

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      • H October 23, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

        Nobody tried to “argue that death threats and posting his phone number on the internet were anything but unacceptable”. Ryan makes a valid point, his apology was reactive to the backlash, not proactive.
        I work in an animal lab, if I make an ethical screw up the scientific community will no longer permit me to work in my current capacity. Joe is a great climber but bad bolter who has made more errors than we would allow of young inexperienced kids before privileges are taken away.
        Why do members of the climbing media lack the objectivity to tell him it’s in the best interest of the community that he forgo bolting (read: privilege)? Planting trees and paying fines doesn’t make him a better route developer. Sponsors and (objective) media members cannot be afraid to hurt someone’s feelings just because they are a personal friend.
        Given this lack of action by leaders in the climbing community, the only viable mechanism for telling Joe that maybe route development is not for him was the forums. Along with that comes all the offensive hyperbole.
        Who’s fault is that?

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        • T October 23, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

          Because it’s just a damn tree.

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        • TL October 23, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

          It was reactive because he didn’t know that what he was doing was wrong or illegal. duh. In New Hampshire and throughout the east coast, people massacre trees … The idea that because he cut down one stupid tree he shouldn’t be sponsored, or he should have to suffer X amount, or he shouldn’t be allowed to establish routes—which many, many, many people have benefited from—is just about the dumbest thing to come out of this whole ridiculous issue

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        • Jon Britton October 24, 2013 at 7:23 am #

          “Nobody tried to “argue that death threats and posting his phone number on the internet were anything but unacceptable”. ”

          Well obviously somebody thought it was acceptable, otherwise these things wouldn’t have happened.

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  2. CJ October 23, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

    I agree. Pointing fingers (even if theres an obvious direction for them to be pointing,) gets us as a community nowhere. It’s like having three hundred reasons why you didn’t send; bottom line is you didn’t, and Joe messed up, so what are you gonna do about now? Probably not kill Joe Kinder.

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    • Narc October 23, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

      I think that the way people respond to situations like this says a lot more about them than it does about whomever carried out the act that is being judged

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  3. j October 23, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

    Considered in a broader context, it should come to no surprise to anyone that there are rock climbers that do really stupid things and even some that may actually be of fundamentally flawed character (this is not a specific comment on Kinder as I don’t know him). The same holds true for any large community. In sports, we have football players who may well be murderers, in journalism, there are blatant plagiarists, etc. Bad eggs always exist. Climbing may be even more vulnerable to this due to the facts that heightened scrutiny is on top performers, elite climbers tend to be quite young, and the folly and foibles of youth are well documented. I’m not excusing any behavior but rather, sort of agreeing with Narc’s idea that the reactions in this case are at least as troubling as the actual incident. The levels of ignorance that all this has revealed is disturbing, but not sadly, not unexpected.

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  4. Karma October 23, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

    I’m just going to throw this out there: what percentage of the people calling for Joe’s head have actually established routes? There’s a lot more grey area around what is “acceptable” during route development than one thinks. You may think those perfectly clean granite or limestone routes you climb on were like that from Day 0, but that’s almost universally not the case. Someone had to clean off loose or dangerous holds, and how much discretion is used while doing that is really up to the climber (and no one else really knows if they broke holds that didn’t need to be broken, or filed down a really sharp edge or two, or dabbed a little epoxy in the back of a seeping pocket). Whether you agree with this or not, it’s true. This stuff happens. Often.

    Granted, cutting down trees is pretty universally frowned upon, but Joe did it with the intent of making the route safer. Joe was strongly criticized a few years ago for not developing a route safely (the Red River Gorge bolt issue) and this likely lead to him going too far the other direction to try to make the route in this case safer. He cut down the trees to keep someone from falling on them. He has since apologized. Let’s not go overboard here.

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  5. Mellow Out October 23, 2013 at 11:25 pm #

    Holy crap are we still talking about this juniper situation? Is the climbing community that bored to where we need to be this upset with one guy for cutting a tree? You hippies need to put down your toms deodorant and get over it. Someone out there right now is cutting a juniper down, stepping on one and or pissing on it without knowing how “sacred” they are. By you pointing the finger for this silly little accident is just like a cop handing out jaywalking tickets when there are bigger problems out there. RELAX!

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  6. Edge October 24, 2013 at 9:15 am #

    “no longer permit me to work in my current capacity.” … “before privileges are taken away.”
    -What are we gonna do, call the Bolting Police when Joe shows up at your local crag?
    “I think that the way people respond to situations like this says a lot more about them than it does about whomever carried out the act that is being judged”
    -Agree 100%

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