Petzl Responds To Joe Kinder Situation

Petzl, one of Joe Kinder’s sponsors, weighs in on Junipergate:

But as actions speak louder than words, we’re encouraged that in addition to paying a fine to the Forest Service, Joe has also decided to donate $1,000 to the Sierra Nevada Alliance, whose mission is to protect and restore the natural resources of the Sierra Nevada for future generations while promoting sustainable communities. Joe will also donate a week of his time to tree planting and other service in Yosemite National Park.

…snip…

We appreciate Joe’s apology and his willingness to back it up with action. We believe that every mistake is an opportunity for growth and learning. With this in mind, we will be funding a new communications program in partnership with the Access Fund.

Sure seems like some good is going to come out of this after all.

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42 Responses to Petzl Responds To Joe Kinder Situation

  1. Luke October 23, 2013 at 9:54 am #

    Junipergate!!! Pure media GOLD!

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    • Owen October 23, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

      The new route will surely now be known as Junipergate

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  2. morgan October 23, 2013 at 11:16 am #

    Does anyone else think of Junipers as weeds?

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  3. guidoprincess October 23, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

    I know I might be alone in saying this, and its completely unacceptable, but is anyone else thinking, “Jesus f-ing christ, its just a tree????????????” I mean, if you are really, really, affected by the death of a tree enough to call Joe’s sponsors and try to take away his livelihood, then you must have a pretty high standard of environmental living. Do you drive a solar powered car? Do you donate your profits to help starving children? Do you realize that your yearly pilgrimage to the red river gorge wastes enough plane fuel to cause a way, way bigger environmental and social impact?

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    • Owen October 23, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

      yup. people only react to what they can see, and relate to. Brazilian rainforest disappearing for the sake of cheap burgers? meh.

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    • JM October 23, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

      I agree with you here. The level of vitriol on supertopo, etc is somewhat appalling, and out of proportion to the magnitude of the incident. Think about how much better the world would be if that level of moral righteousness was applied to things that actually matter?

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      • Narc October 23, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

        Things like politics, right??? ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Justin October 24, 2013 at 12:39 am #

      It’s because, like it or not, high profile climbers represent all of us in the minds of the public. More importantly they set the example to climbers who are new to the sport, especially the young and impressionable. In a broader context, as public figures, they also represent our culture to the rest of the world. As a result, it’s totally reasonable to expect that they not do ignorant things like cut down thousand year old trees, especially PUBLICLY, and that if by some accident they screw up, its reasonable to expect an apology backed up with real actions like this one is. I say good on Petzl for coming out and helping Joe to turn a negative situation into a really positive one. I think he is setting a really good example by sincerely apologizing, especially since a week of his time and a thousand of his dollars is something he will likely notice. They will leave an impression. It’s not just lip service. This is an example other climbers, and other public figures in general, would do well to follow.

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    • the chuffington post October 24, 2013 at 9:17 am #

      agreed. was he wrong in cutting down the trees, no doubt. writing his sponsors and trying to take away how the guy has made a living for 15+ years seems a little excessive. His apology seemed genuine and he is taking the right steps to redeem himself.

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      • Justin October 24, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

        I think with the apology in place Joe Kinder is being an excellent example, and so potentially taking away his livelihood as a sponsored climber would be excessive and ridiculous. Without the apology though, I’m not so sure I would agree.

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      • the chuffington post October 25, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

        on another note, poking around the supertopo thread will provide a few laughs. people goes as far as saying they hate him and denounce his existence, pretty much implying there is a special place in hell for joe kinder

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  4. jdizzla October 23, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

    Im with you guido. This whole situation is outrageous, ITS JUST A F’ING TREE. Lets move on. He sincerly apologized and donated a thousand dollars to trees.

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  5. John October 23, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

    Im with you guidoprincess. Big f-ing deal. So he cut some tree to establish a route. Go cry me a river. And the fact that he had to apologize, dontate a good chunk of money and is going to plant trees for a week….WTF? Do we really need to punish him? If I did it, no one would know who I was and not a thing would happen. No news about this would be reported. I’m gonna go cut down 4 trees right now in protest to this ludicrous situation. I’ll try really hard to find some Junipers ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    • Andrew October 23, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

      Would you be up in arms if he had chipped or drilled pockets on the route? The same arguments against chipping (that we have a finite amount of rock resources that should be left in its natural state, not altered based on the whims of an individual) apply to junipers because of how long they live and their relative scarcity. This is different than cleaning moss and scrubs out of a crack in Squamish.
      This reminds me of the dendochronologist who cut down a bristlecone pine to retrieve his stuck trunk-coring device, only to discover later that the tree was Methuselah, the oldest known living organism. He switched careers to studying salt flats after that.
      All that said, he seems quite repentant, and the community outrage exceeds the crime, like when Dean Potter soloed Delicate Arch. But at least Joe’s sponsers are loyal.

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      • j October 23, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

        That’s not a good comparison. Trees are living organisms, a chunk of rock is not. In fact, chipping (in limited contexts) is far easier to justify than chopping down an old Juniper.

        Of course, the “it’s just one tree” argument is flawed on a number of fronts. For one, it stirs up a lot of trouble in the non-climbing community that can result in backlash and perhaps access issues. One route is not worth this. It’s illegal activity on public land. Climbers should not engage in this, especially high-profile ones. And (failed) attempts to cover up wrongdoing commonly escalate the situation. Finally, some people place inherent value in the life of a tree that’s been around for a long time. Such views should be respected, within reason.

        j

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        • Franz the Stampede October 24, 2013 at 3:14 am #

          Spot on, J.
          No need to look at this outside of the climbing perspective. At a global level, well no, one juniper doesn’t make a difference. At a climbing level, it does. It is a bad fcuk up from somebody who should know better about all things related to outdoors climbing and everything that comes with it, it’s his profession.
          It does the climbing community a disservice when it comes to the never ending access issues.
          It might even do a disservice within the climbing community. I’m surprised no hard-arse, narrow minded trad-climber or mountaineer hasn’t come up yet with “it’s always sport climbers doing this type of stuff, we wouldn’t”.

          So…

          YES, climbing-wise, it is a big deal.
          NO, death threats and such do not help at all.
          YES, strong yet civilised criticism can help the offender realise the extent of the damage done.
          YES, trying to cover it up was also a bad move from Joe.
          YES, Joe has apologised about the tree.
          NO, Joe doesn’t seem to have apologised about the attempted cover up. Which leads me to think that if the thing had not (re)escalated, we would never have seen the tree apology.
          YES, I would have loved to see Joe showing initiative to actually make up for what is done in ways other than the blog apology and NO, I don’t think that $1,000 is enough of a bail.

          to say it like CN did, the ball is still in Joe’s court imo.

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          • SB October 24, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

            Who wouldn’t try to cover it up at first? More so if you make a living of your reputation? I see the initial cover up more as a positive thing, because he obviously recognized the mistake and feared the consequences. But in the end he did admit it.

            I mean, take Enzo Oddos reaction towards the accusations of him removing bolts on a 6b+ climb in brazil because he could solo it. Instead of apologizing he starts babbling about a new trad movement that did similar stuff in europe. This is somebody who obviously has no antennas for the social outcome of his actions.

            People make mistakes, also if they are public personas. The point is that he was able to admit it and faced the harsh internet stoning.

            This is more than enough, we don’t have to cut down Joe too.

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          • Franz the Stampede October 25, 2013 at 1:56 am #

            SB, I’m replying to you here because it looks like CN doesn’t allow for another level of nesting.
            You can’t speculate on the “who wouldn’t try to cover it up”. Some people wouldn’t. Some people would admit the cock up straight away, in order not to be guilty of two things: cutting down a tree you weren’t allowed to and lying about it.
            He did admit it only when he couldn’t do otherwise.

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          • SB October 27, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

            Hey Franz, I actually did not want to reply anymore, but here it goes. I shouldn’t have said the cover up is a positive thing. That was a bad choice of phrasing to express what I meant.

            To admit an error in judgment in an ambiguous situation is something that most people are capable of. But this situation wasn’t ambiguous at all and Joe’s decision was most likely caused by the tunnel vision for his route. And its not that tragic, really, and most importantly I don’t think his action is a sign of a systematic disrespect for nature. But it must be insanely hard to publicly admit to have done something stupid and to serve as an example of “how not to do it”. So I am sympathetic to how he initially acted.

            In the end he behaved like an average human being (not perfect, but who really is?), that’s the thing I found positive. If you remember Rich Simpson, for example, who lied his ass off, who also lived from being a climber and who completely dissappeared when he was confronted … that could also have happened and would have given the whole story a completly different angle.

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      • T October 23, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

        I think it was Prometheus, not Methuselah

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      • Nick October 23, 2013 at 8:39 pm #

        Remember the whole Ivan Greene Gunks chipping scandal? Seems like people were almost as equally pissed about that (petitions to his sponsors, threats of violence, calls for legal action) as this.

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  6. cherrybomber October 24, 2013 at 12:24 am #

    I live in the Tahoe area and simply enjoy climbing at a recreational level. I think it is awesome that pro climbers are out here developing routes that I and others can try. It saddens me that one of the sports idols cut down two junipers. It also saddens me that others do not see this as something inherently destructive too. They really are beautiful trees and I have a deep respect for them. Even dead junipers are cool. Simple as that. I grew up rubbing juniper berries between my fingers to get a amazing smell. The high desert and alpine region of this area has a delicate ecosystem and while the cutting of two trees is not the end of the balance, it will take a long time to grow more back.

    Simply put I don’t want to crucify Joe, but I don’t think I will buy anything with petzl on it for a long time.

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    • JM October 24, 2013 at 11:09 am #

      So you are boycotting Petzl because they sponsor a climber who made a mistake, owned up to it, apologized, and tried to make it right. To boycott a company is the ultimate in “putting you money where your mouth is”, in a fairly literal sense. If something matters to you enough to boycott a company, that means it is pretty important to you.

      Now do you boycott other companies that do things massively worse than this silly little junipergate thing? Do you boycott Monsanto crops for their abusive practices toward the American farmer? Do you boycott Walmart for being a leech on small-town economies? Do you boycott BP for essentially destroying the Gulf ecosystem? How about electricity from coal-fired plants? Clothing and shoes and electronics from sweatshops in SE Asia? My guess is that you do not boycott all of these things. Yet you will boycott Petzl over a single juniper tree? This carries an implicit statement that a single juniper is more important to you than all of those things mentioned above. I think you may wish to reevaluate your perspective here.

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      • cherrybomber October 24, 2013 at 11:47 am #

        Actually I started a small permaculture farm in Reno to grow my own organic food because I hate Monsanto and other companies that use GMO’s, monoculture and pesticides that are destructive to the environment. It is a huge part of my life. I volunteered for two weeks in the Coal River valley (WV) at the age of seventeen to fight against mountain top removal and cheep shitty coal. I ride my bike 6.5 miles one way every time I have a class 2-3 times a day to my university which is a motherf*cker but I believe in a healthy simply alternative to fossil fuel consumption. I spend what little money I have with companies that produce clothes, gear and resources in a sustainable way.

        I think you may want to realize that there are people out there who are trying to make a difference, and one destructive action requires a thousand positive actions to repair it. Yeah, I will boycott Petzl. It is really that simple.

        HA!

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        • Bet the above dude would suck to hang out with October 24, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

          wow 6.5 miles, you sure are a hardass. I have a good friends that ride 20 miles to and from work nearly everyday and they never even go on self-righteous internet rants, but that’s probably because they’re not core like you.

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        • JM October 24, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

          Cherrybomber: I stand corrected as to my comment above. That said, I still think a boycott of Petzl is misguided and out of perspective. Petzl is a company that contributes to the climbing community in a wide variety of meaningful ways: sponsoring athletes, supporting events, contributing to climbing organizations, etc. For instance, look at the Roc Trip series, which raised a bunch of money for the RRGCC when the Roc Trip went to the Red. Juniper tree or no juniper tree, Petzl is a company I am happy to support; I think they good they do for the sport far outweighs any damage caused in this minor incident.

          Same goes for Joe. He has done a lot for sport climbing in the US, particularly with regard to developing routes. When someone is as well travelled as he is, and does as much route/crag development work as he does, it is inevitable that he will eventually make a mistake and piss some people off…in this case by removing a tree that shouldn’t have been removed. Overall, though, I think that his contributions to the sport (esp. route development) outweigh this incident. Cut the guy a break.

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          • cherrybomber October 24, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

            Sounds good JM. Those are some really good points. Petzl does do great things for the community. I do think that being a sponsored athlete is more than a livelihood just by it’s very nature.It is a privilege to live that lifestyle and most importantly the best athletes embody good practices of their sport to show others as rolemodels.

            As a local who grew up in the area I think my perspective differs because I do not view the cutting of a juniper as minor. I am not ragging on Joe and I do not know the guy. Laws aside, I just dont view the cutting of a juniper to climb one route as justifiable and instead of bashing on him on the internet I just wanted to speak my mind with how I choose to spend my money because of this issue.

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    • T October 24, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

      You would really condone one man losing his livelihood because he cut down two trees once in his life? If you accidentally stepped off trail onto an endangered fern and killed it, you should lose your job too. You people need to stop being so holier-than-thou and get a reality check. Give me a break.

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      • Jonga the Rhetor October 24, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

        That’s, like, a crazy bad argument. As a pro, if he’s meant to set the standard, he set an unacceptable one. it’s not the trees, it’s the principle. You can be the biggest environmental fuck-up as long as you’re ignorant of your actions, at least that’s justifiable. It’s just that the standard setters are inherently expected to act holier. who cares what unheard-of individuals do.

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  7. don'tforgetthefacts October 24, 2013 at 1:04 am #

    Let’s not forget that he tried to deny it at first (if the adventure journal article is correct). And the “it’s just a tree” comments are the type of selfish reactions that are what is wrong with the world today.

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    • Thanks October 24, 2013 at 8:00 am #

      “The tree was 10 ft tall and 10 inches thick.”
      It’s just a tree.

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    • T October 24, 2013 at 10:42 am #

      You use the internet, you use a computer, you live in a house (hopefully), you use gas (probably). The amount of natural resources used to make the materials you now use to create your current life have undoubtedly done infinitely more damage to the world that the two trees Joe cut down. Get down off your holier-than-thou high horse. It’s just a tree.

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      • Jonga the Rhetor October 24, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

        I live in a van down by the river, take sink “showers” and use pubic libraries for the web. next statement.

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        • Bert October 24, 2013 at 6:43 pm #

          Do you and your van ever travel to climbing destinations on roads that required the clearing of trees before construction?

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  8. sean October 24, 2013 at 4:29 am #

    he responded well, donations and tree planting. petzl responded well. in the wake of two felled trees comes more trees and new access to even more info on route setting and ethics. seems like the situation has turned out ok. two junipers down, but a better climbing community because of it. (if people can stop being assholes about it)

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    • Franz the Stampede October 24, 2013 at 7:38 am #

      Sean, you are possibly right. But I think that the incident also put crag development under a bad light. If I were a non-climbing landowner whose land has potential for climbing and I happened to know about this incident, I reckon I might have a reason more not to allow access and climbing on my property. It would be the likely reaction. Not the right one, not the best one, but the most likely.

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  9. guilty October 24, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    I cut a tree down once for a route, but it was a lesser species, one of those junk maples. Even lesser than that was a pricker bus in a crack that I once pulled out. Not even worth mentioning were the mosses and lichens I wire brushed off. All living plants, but some worth more than others to us…

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  10. tyo October 24, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    I’m just trying to figure out, tree or no tree, why is joe kinder still a professional climber? And who considers him an ‘idol’ in our sport?

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    • Jonga the Rhetor October 24, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

      Bid mouth that takes pictures. Sponsor’s dream

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  11. toothbrush October 24, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

    Junipergate. What an awesome name and I can’t wait to see the repeats. Will we chastise all the climbers that vie for a go at it too? You gotta admit a Juniper that spent 1000 years growing through a slab of rock only to be cut down for our personal amusement is a sad thing. I can also understand that JK obviously did not realize this (or lost site of it) since it’s not rare to see a Juniper on a slab of granite. Given the public responses provided by JK and his sponsors I think we can say case closed. As climbers, we represent an activity where the primary focus is to interact with nature on an even level. Shoes, chalk, ropes and a few holes in the wall is what we have desensitized ourselves to believe is acceptable and we should probably leave it to that.

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  12. climb2core October 24, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

    Everyone keeps discussing the environmental impact as the primary problem with cutting down the tree. It’s a tree, that was maybe a 100 years old. Yes, we all routinely contribute to the destruction of the environment on daily basis that is much worse than this single act. However, the REAL problem is that it is a tree on NFS land and is against the law/rules. Climbers/developers must often walk a delicate balance between our self serving goals of opening new climbs and working within the system to establish them. Start deviating from that system and it can/will jeopardize access for all of us. JK crossed that line, has suffered his fair share of consequences and has taken action to correct it as best as possible. Hopefully more good can come of this than bad… no one wants to be the next Kinder chopping story now. It also brings up some ethical debates that need to be discussed at a local level with a possibly different acceptable answer at each venue. If the environment is your concern, then you need to be fighting for your cause and not by piling on JK. If your issue is access, then you need to be working with your local community to make sure development ethics are discussed and take into consideration local environmental laws.

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  13. B October 27, 2013 at 11:12 am #

    So where is this crag and what is it called?

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