Tag Archives | Junipergate

Can Climbers Think More Clearly About Ethics?

Peter Beal weighs in on Junipergate:

I think Joe has received enough of a shellacking from everyone else and I consider him a friend so I am not going to deliver a sermon on why cutting the tree down was a bad idea. But I am going to take issue with his defenders who are among other things  betraying a fundamental lack of understanding of how the sport of climbing actually works. Fundamental to this is an understanding of the principal issues at stake in making ethical decisions, issues that many, in fact too many, internet commenters seem willfully ignorant of.

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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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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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My Actions, My Responsibility, And My Mistake

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.

  1. Incidentally, this is not the first time he has issued a mea culpa for his actions as a route developer
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