Joe Kinder, writing on his blog about an incident that took place recently near Tahoe:
To make a long story short, I was recently informed that I had done something wrong last month while establishing new routes at an underground crag in the Tahoe region of California. I cut down two trees. Not just any trees, either. Junipers.
I’d like to try to address and speak about the specifics of my actions, but in doing so, I want to make no mistake that this was a regrettable error on my part. I am deeply apologetic about what I did. I was wrong. I F’d up. And I’m very sorry. Now, I’m using my blog, my voice and my position in the climbing community to bring awareness to an important issue of route development in order to prevent people who may be as ignorant as I once was from doing this in the future.
There’s no doubt that this was a bad mistake, and Kinder should have known better1. He only compounded his problems when he tried to hide from the situation by deleting any evidence from social media and denying what happened according to this story on the Adventure Journal.
Unfortunately, in today’s time there is the story about what actually happened and then there is the story about how people respond to what happened. Kinder puts himself out there more than most climbers do which is usually to his benefit, but this has also put him in the position that many people are looking for the first reason to tear him down. This nearly 500 post long SuperTopo thread got hundreds of posts deep before anyone even knew what they were really yelling about, and the armchair internet judgement from most post posters has been swift and resolute: Joe Kinder is the worst person ever. This sort of mob mentality is not unique to the climbing world by any stretch, but its seeming ubiquity in our society today doesn’t make it any more right or constructive.
At this point no amount of criticism or apologizing will change what happened, so in my mind what is most important is what can happen going forward. Actions speak louder than words. The ball is in Kinder’s court.