View Full Version : Delicate Arch is climbed

05-09-2006, 08:09 AM
Delicate Arch climb has park chief red in the face
By Lisa J. Church -Salt Lake Tribune

MOAB - For almost 12 years, Dean Potter studied the tiny cracks and crevices in Delicate Arch, searching out potential fingerholds and footholds that could aid his ascent of Utah's most famous icon.

On Sunday morning, Potter, a professional climber known for his speed and agility, put that research to the test, successfully scaling the 45-foot monument "free solo" - without the aid of ropes and other climbing gear. But the 34-year-old part-time Moab resident's achievement doesn't sit well with National Park Service officials and some fellow climbing enthusiasts.

"I'm very sorry to see someone do this to Utah's most visible icon," said the park's superintendent, Laura Joss. "I would just ask if they think it's a good idea to encourage this."

Potter believed that as long as he used no fixed anchors and did not damage the rock, he was free to climb Delicate Arch.

Not so, says Joss.

It was an idea that Potter, a climbing ambassador for outdoor-gear company Patagonia, could not get out of his head.

"For the past four years or so, I've been going up there kind of obsessively and looking at it in every possible light," Potter said Tuesday. "When I realized I was going to try this, I started going out to it more and more frequently."

Feeling his way along the rock face early Sunday morning, Potter inched his way to the top of Delicate Arch, stood on the flat, wide shelf and looked out over the Moab Valley.

"This was one of the most beautiful climbs I've ever done," Potter said. "For me, it was just an overwhelming experience, as if the formation was vibrating with energy."

Once atop the arch, Potter lowered a string to retrieve a climbing rope to make his descent. He says he climbed Delicate Arch "several times in a two-hour period." Even one time is too many, Joss said.

"The intent of our [regulations] is that all named arches are closed to climbing," Joss said. "If the compendium is found not to be sufficient, we will work with our solicitor posthaste to put a closure on Delicate Arch immediately."

Arches allows climbing in some areas, and Joss said that in the past climbers have respected the rules, which include prohibitions on climbing the park's most famous rock formations.

Matt Moore, owner of Desert Highlights, a climbing outfitter in Moab, said he has always understood that park regulations prohibit climbing on Delicate Arch.

"Probably every climber looks at it and thinks it would be great to climb Delicate Arch," Moore said. "On the one hand, it was probably a great ascent for Dean, but at the same time, I can't condone it because it is against park regulations."

Patagonia's publicity department initially alerted the media to Potter's ascent, but indicated it may back off on further promotions after learning that Potter may have broken park service regulations.

His Delicate Arch ascent marks the second time in as many years that Potter has come to the attention of Arches officials. The park recently changed its regulations to prohibit "slacklining" - a sport in which flexible nylon rope is stretched between two points, often over a steep fissure, and walked like a tightrope - after Potter slacklined the Three Gossips, another well-known rock formation in the park, Joss said.

Potter said he took great care to leave Delicate Arch undisturbed, and he is unapologetic about undertaking the challenge.

"I am very conscientious about following nature's rules. I respected the arch to the fullest. I did no more than blow a little dust off a few handholds," Potter said. "What has our world come to if we cannot join nature by climbing one of nature's most beautiful features?"


05-09-2006, 08:27 AM
I'm undecided on which side I support in this argument.

It's good that it was a freeclimb, and minimal (if none) harm was done to the structure -- but it may encourage other climbers.

05-09-2006, 08:51 AM
I think it was really bad form. Delicate Arch would be near at the top of every climbers list if it was legal. This was nothing more then a chest thumping stunt.

Arch Bagging (climbing arches) has been around for a long time but it has always been understood that Delicate Arch was off limits. This is one of those deals where someone broke the unwritten code..... And as any canyoneer knows, pulling your rappel ropes would result in rope grooves to the arch. So his "I just blew dust off" is pure bullshit.....


05-09-2006, 09:12 AM
This is true. He checked it out for 4 years, and he knew it was illegal, or else he would be publicly announcing that he was going to do it.

05-09-2006, 09:38 AM
Worst of all.... I bet this costs all of us who play in the park..... Rules will now be tightened, new regulations published, existing rules more tightly enforced......

Arch bagging has been around as an underground sub-culture for a long time. But it has always been understood that Delicate Arch was off limits.

Don't be surprised if this gives the park the ammunition it needs to close the Fiery Furnace to all but ranger guided tours.


05-09-2006, 12:15 PM
Worst of all.... I bet this costs all of us who play in the park..... Rules will now be tightened, new regulations published, existing rules more tightly enforced......

Arch bagging has been around as an underground sub-culture for a long time. But it has always been understood that Delicate Arch was off limits.

Don't be surprised if this gives the park the ammunition it needs to close the Fiery Furnace to all but ranger guided tours.


Look at the bright side our good friend Dean got some sweet video footage and we will all be able to not only pay some outrageous fee for the video but we may never have to worry about having to climb that pretty arch or any of the rocks in national state parks.

Thanks Dean Pooper

05-09-2006, 12:29 PM
I think this is going to cost Dean dearly..... Lots of folks are already calling for Patagonia to drop him as a sponsored climber. Poor old Dean might have to actually get a real job.

You want fries with that burger :haha:


05-09-2006, 04:37 PM
Gerry Roach pretty much set the tone and rules that the sub-culture of Arch Baggers live by in 1982 with his book "Arch Bagger - A Scramblers Guide to Arches National Park".

Here was what Roach had to say about Delicate Arch..... "Delicate Arch has enough power that it is sufficient to simply view. Don't get greedy."


05-09-2006, 06:21 PM
"Delicate Arch has enough power that it is sufficient to simply view. Don't get greedy."

Great quote Ice. Well said.

My opinion is that rules are rules. Whether their right or not is not really the point. They should be respected regardless. It just doesn't set a good example for everybody else. I'd really hate to see some less experienced punk try the same stunt and either get himself killed, or worse, do some permanent damage to such a beautiful and irreplaceable piece of nature.

05-09-2006, 06:36 PM
Below are the rules Roach listed to be a successful arch bagger.

Wear rock colored clothes.

When visible stay low.

When viable be quick.

Don't flash climbing equipment in the parking lots or on the trail.

Don't wear climbing clothes.

Look like a tourist.

When operating in the Fiery Furnace learn when the ranger tours will appear and avoid them.

Climb during the off seasons.

Climb early or late in the day.

Be quiet.

Don't brag about your exploits.

Sleep outside the park.

Be cool when the shouting starts.

Act stupid.

Act innocent.

When you are going to be a criminal you better start acting like one.

Dean was not the first to climb Delicate Arch, he was just the first who was dumb enough to get caught. :haha:

05-10-2006, 08:44 AM
Park tweaks rules after Delicate Arch climb
Old rule 'not worded well': Athlete won't face any backlash but should be last to scale famous feature
By Lisa J. Church
Special to The Tribune

MOAB - Rock climber and "slackliner" Dean Potter may have had his moment high atop famed Delicate Arch. But the National Park Service says no one better do it again.

Officials at Arches National Park on Tuesday issued a statement reinforcing the park's long-standing rock-climbing ban on all named arches after Potter announced that he had successfully "free climbed" the nearly 50-foot-high southeast Utah icon using no protective equipment.

Arches acting Chief Ranger Karen McKinlay-Jones believes Potter's actions on Sunday violated the intent of park regulations but said the park's solicitor advised that Potter cannot be prosecuted because the regulation "was not worded well."

"It was always our intent that all named arches . . . are closed to climbing," said. "That was clearly understood by the climbing community in Moab as well as by climbers who come here from other places."

The park's newly worded climbing ban, which went into effect Tuesday, leaves no room for doubt:

"All rock climbing or similar activities on any arch or natural bridge named on the United States Geological Survey 7.5 minute topographical maps covering Arches National Park are prohibited."

The park also has banned "slacklining" - defined as walking on flat nylon webbing or rope anchored between rock formations, trees or any other natural features.

Earlier this year, Potter participated in slacklining at the Three Gossips, another well-known Arches rock formation, park officials said. The feat highlighted the fact that the practice was not addressed in existing regulations.

Potter was unrepentant Tuesday, saying he is "not sorry for my actions at all."

He said he did not read the regulations before Sunday's climb but did ask several rangers about the park's regulations. He said now that the wording has been changed, he will follow the rules.

"I didn't want to break the law, and I didn't break the law," he said. "The suggestion that I did something illegal causes harm to me and my reputation. I'd be surprised if anybody would find anything wrong if the story had just been 'man climbs rock,' or 'man communes with nature.' "

News of Potter's ascent also caused headaches for outdoor-clothing and gear manufacturer Patagonia, where Potter serves as a "climbing ambassador."

A member of Patagonia's marketing staff had alerted the news media about the successful climb Monday. When the story appeared Tuesday, customers contacted the company to complain about Patagonia's perceived role.

Spokeswoman Jen Rapp said via e-mail Tuesday that the company "was unaware of the legality issues surrounding the climb" when the media contacts were made.

"As a policy, Patagonia neither endorses nor condemns our [ambassadors'] individual activities. We trust that our athletes are the best judge of their own actions, and rely on them to act with care for themselves and the natural environment," she said, emphasizing that "Patagonia had no prior knowledge of Dean's intent or plans to climb Delicate Arch.

"We are currently looking into the situation and working with Dean to make sure we come to a reasonable resolution."

Redefined Park Rules:

"Effective May 9, 2006, under the authority of Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 1, Section 1.5(a)(1), all rock climbing or similar activities on any arch or natural bridge named on the United States Geological Survey 7.5 minute topographical maps covering Arches National Park are prohibited.

"In addition, 'slacklining' in Arches National Park is prohibited. Slacklining is defined as walking on a rope or other line that is anchored between rock formations, trees, or any other natural features. Height of the rope above the ground is immaterial.

"These closures are based upon a determination that such action is necessary for the maintenance of public health and safety, protection of environmental or scenic values, protection of natural resources and avoidance of conflict among visitor use activities."


05-10-2006, 11:28 AM
Don't be surprised if this gives the park the ammunition it needs to close the Fiery Furnace to all but ranger guided tours.

I'm sure the Park sees this for what it is, a very isolated incident. I doubt they'll close the Fiery Furnace because of this (it will be stored as ammunition for the next round of regulations), but if they do my long-held belief will be proven yet again. "All it takes is one idiot."

How could this guy possibly not have known that what he was doing was illegal? If it was legal to climb Delicate Arch I can promise you that this would not be the singular feat he believes it is. There would be a line at the base 24/7 and probably a Zion-esque permit system. I know he's unrepentant now. I can only hope that the full ramifications (stupidity) of his selfishness start to weigh on him before he does something this dumb again.

The story says he rappelled from the arch. What did he use for an anchor? There was only one of him so he couldn't have done a tandem rap. I really hope there was a nub of rock on the "summit (?)" where he was able to rig a retrievable anchor. Can you say "holy crap" if he placed a bolt or two (seriously doubt he did). I know it's been said, but there's no way he didn't leave a groove when he pulled his rope.

05-10-2006, 11:54 AM
If you really want to put pressure on the guy for pulling a dumbass stunt write his sponsor and tell them how disappointed you are.


Dean is paid to climb, he is a local, he knew the rules. It's not the first time he has done something like this.


Scott P
05-10-2006, 01:27 PM
The story says he rappelled from the arch. What did he use for an anchor?

Probably the arch itself. Simple trick.

05-10-2006, 02:17 PM
The story says he rappelled from the arch. What did he use for an anchor?

My understanding is several folks were around. He brought his own photog and video taping crew.... probably just dropped the rope over the arch and had one of his helpers tie in for an anchor.

I'm also guessing that pulling the rope might have scared the arch with rope grooves.


05-10-2006, 05:31 PM
I know it's been said, but there's no way he didn't leave a groove when he pulled his rope.

Unless he didn't pull his rope. Don't know what he did, but its possible that he set his rope such that after rappelling off carefully (tied off on the other side to someone), with a few huge shakes/waves up the rope, he coule flip it off one end of the arch or the other. Thus not having to pull or leave any sort of groove/rope mark.

Another feasible set up for not leaving any mark would be to anchor with the pull cord (the article mentions him taking one up with him) doubled through a ring or rapide that the rope (going over the other side of arch) is either tied to or doubled through, just off the pullcord side edge. Have the anchor person tie into both ends of the pull cord. He raps off the rope side. Once the rappel is completed, the pull cord is pulled. Since the ring is over the edge, no groovies. Once the pull cord is out, the weight of the rope would inevitably cause it to fall off the other side of the arch. Although there would be a little contact/friction across the top of the arch, it wouldn't be along any single line and no grooves would occur. If the rope didn't fall initially, a shake or tug would surely do the trick.

A little elaborate, hope that made sense.

Food for thought if you're ever rappelling an arch or fin and don't want to leave a groove.

Not that I approve of his actions or anything...

05-15-2006, 08:30 PM
Delicate Arch stunt will limit access for all climbers
Paul M. Jakus

A couple of years back the Outdoor Retailers Show threatened to leave Utah due to the state's perceived lack of support for the non-motorized recreation community. The retailers argued the state gave too much "weight" to motorized recreation in public lands management, an argument partially rooted in the belief that the motorized folks flouted regulations designed to limit user conflicts and damage to public lands.

Now we have Dean Potter, a non-motorized user of public lands, who decided to climb Delicate Arch in clear violation of the climbing regulations of Arches National Park. Yes, one of their own decided to violate the rules.

Or, should I say, "one of our own," for I am a climber of more than 30 years, and I am outraged by the indefensible actions of Mr. Potter.

Potter's statement that climbing Delicate Arch was not illegal is self-serving and disingenuous at best, and an outright lie at worst. Every climber understands that access to climbing resources on public land is governed by a climbing management plan. Prior to his climb the Arches National Park Web site specifically stated that all named arches on 7.5 minute USGS maps were off-limits to climbing.

In fact, all the climbing management plans in areas with such features have a similar statement.

Mr. Potter's actions demonstrate a blatant disregard for our sport's history. I remember the days when the number of climbers and the damage we caused was small. But the rapid growth of our community over the past three or four decades meant that we could no longer ignore the damage we caused ourselves and others.

In the 1970s climbers engaged in self-regulation as we moved from exclusive use of rock-scarring pitons to so-called "clean-climbing" techniques. With the advent of climbing management plans in the late 1980s and early 1990s, climbers banded together in regional and national organizations to negotiate with land managers about access issues. Such plans always designate the formations on which climbing is prohibited.

Over the past two decades we climbers have become acutely aware that the actions of one person could affect access for the community as a whole.

But along with the growth our sport came the opportunity to move up the social ladder from "dirtbag climber" to "professional climber." Mr. Potter is a professional climber paid in cash and kind by numerous outdoor equipment companies to have his exploits and photographs - sponsor's logo prominently displayed - published in outdoor magazines. Indeed, the announcement of Mr. Potter's ascent of Delicate Arch came from his sponsor, Patagonia. To maintain sponsorship, a professional climber must stay in the public eye, something for which Mr. Potter is apparently richly gifted.

About a month ago Mr. Potter's "slackline" stunt on The Three Gossips (similar to a tight-rope walk between rock spires) caught the eye of climbers and the National Park Service. Less than a week later, all slacklining in Arches was banned. And now Mr. Potter has climbed Delicate Arch, apparently hoping to profit from an action that puts climbing access to Arches at risk to all climbers.

Let's face it: The easiest management policy is an absolute ban on all climbing. Such a policy would be so simple that even Dean Potter could understand it, yet would punish the rest of us.

All of which brings us back to the Outdoor Retailers Show. The companies that participate in this trade show must band together on behalf of all climbers and condemn the actions of Mr. Potter and the complicity of Patagonia. His actions are clearly motivated by sponsorship, and his sponsors should show respect for other climbers by immediately terminating their relationship with Potter.

Only if we, as a community of climbers and equipment manufacturers, assure land managers that we can engage in self-regulation and self-censure will these same managers allow us access for enjoyment by all.
Paul M. Jakus is a professor in the Department of Economics at Utah State University.


05-16-2006, 02:31 PM
An email I received from Patagonia in response to an email I sent them:


Thank you for writing us with your concerns. 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

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."

Again, we thank you for your time and your opinion.


05-16-2006, 03:03 PM
An email I received from Patagonia in response to an email I sent them:

(Body of letter removed. See above.)

That has got to be some of the finest corporate double speak I've ever heard. One of the greatest non-appologies of all time. They might as well have said "We seriously doubt this will effect our bottom line, and Dean Potter has made us a truck load of money in the past, so he can do whatever he wants with our blessing."

I'd say that I plan to boycott Patigonia, but I've never bought any of their products, so the point is moot. I certainly will think of other manufacturers first when making equipment decisions.

05-16-2006, 03:56 PM
An email I received from Patagonia in response to an email I sent them:

Hey, that is the exact same letter I received. And here I thought I was special :lol8:

Guess I won't be buying anymore of Patagonia's over-priced clothing :2thumbs:


05-28-2006, 02:11 AM
The man is a weasel. Free soloists that gather a group and have a film crew are doing it for the wrong reasons. I couldn't think of anything more satisfying than free soloing something and then never telling anyone. Even if the law was poorly written it was still written with the intent that no one climbs of named arches. The fact that he would disrespect the people in charge of taking card of the land just shows how much he doesn't care about anything other than himself. That letter from Patagonia was a laugh.


05-28-2006, 08:26 PM
Frankly I am not the least bit amazed.

For years I have enjoyed both motorized and non-motorized use of the outdoors, catching flack about my motorized uses all along the way.

I have always argued that the "Idiot factor" knows no boundry while everyone regularly pretends that as long as no motor is involved then no harm is being done to the environment.

This proves my point. Simply because you don't own a motor does not keep you from being an idiot. And owning a motor does not make you an idiot. And being an idiot does not keep you from going outdoors and creating problems for the rest of us.

Thanks to this jackass we now have new and more rigid regulations. Why do people insist on forcing the governments hand? He knew it was wrong and did it simply because he knew he could get away with it legally. He probably also knew he would be the last because the regs would be tightened aftewards.

What an SOB, he should be banned from leaving his house.

06-02-2006, 07:19 AM
Here is an article from Outside magazine. This article points out that it did in fact damage the arch. If it makes it any better it does say that no damage can be seen with the naked eye but there are photographs showing the damage.


I hope this produces one heck of a video.

06-02-2006, 07:44 AM
"I just blew the dust off"..... my ass....

I believe several members of this forum predicted the arch would suffer rope grooves. Potters a dumbass.......

06-02-2006, 07:56 AM
Yo here is a "wicked" video showing the parts of the ascent.

Fox News Story (http://www.stevebaron.com/delicate_arch.mov)

06-02-2006, 10:53 AM
Stolen from Outside Mag:

[i]At first, Potter refused to talk about the Delicate Arch incident when Outside contacted him in Yosemite over Memorial Day weekend. The next day he called back, saying he had not been pressured to speak on the record by Patagonia. He apologized

06-02-2006, 02:40 PM
It must have been his freedom of expression to have a cameraman climb it also, so he could be filmed coming up.

What would happen if people expressed their feelings by punching him? Is that a freedom of expression?

06-03-2006, 09:11 AM
Foolish young man...... Potter should just own up to the fact that he pulled a dumbass stunt and then all would probably be forgotten...... instead he continues to dig himself a deeper grave.......

First he claims he didn't know, yeah right, every noob in the state knew Delicate Arch was off limits. Next he claims a free solo, and then admits a rope was used to practice the moves. Next he claims a first ascent, when every arch bagger in the state knew it had been done. Now he is trying to blame the NPS for its regulations..... This fool is causing nothing but headaches for future climbers in the NPS.

Hey Potter..... it's time to "man up", come clean and say your sorry's......

Controversy surrounds possible damage in rock climber's arch ascent
Climber might have damaged arch
By Christopher Smart
The Salt Lake Tribune

Grooves near the top of Delicate Arch appear to be caused by climbing ropes. A story on Outside magazine's Web site speculates that Dean Potter may have caused the damage during his controversial May 7 ascent of the sandstone icon.

Dean Potter may be done climbing Delicate Arch, but he hasn't finished wading through the criticism unleashed by the much ballyhooed "free solo" ascent.

The man who claimed to be the first to climb the southeast Utah sandstone arch without ropes came under increased scrutiny again this week after Outside magazine alleged in an online feature story that Potter did, in fact, employ ropes. And the magazine hinted that he might have damaged the Utah icon.

In an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune on Friday, Potter conceded that photographers accompanying him used ropes - but he denied allegations that rope scars on the sandstone formation were left by his party.

"I have climbed for 18 years and know how to climb rock in the most environmentally sensitive way," he said when confronted with the magazine's allegations. "We did have a rope up there, but we positioned it in a crack, and the rope was padded with my jacket."

In the Outside story titled "How Delicate Was Dean?" - it appears only on its Web site, http://outside.away.com - writer Tim Neville explains that before Potter attempted the free ascent, he practiced the climb using ropes.

"He rehearsed the moves first with protection from a top rope draped over the formation," the story said, relating eyewitness accounts. "[T]here's even a chance Potter did permanent damage to Delicate Arch's famously soft sandstone."

Magazine Editorial Director Alex Heard said in an interview that his magazine launched its investigation after letters came pouring in, even though Outside had yet to write about it. Those responses were running nine to one against Potter's climb.

"There were a couple of things that I wasn't seeing answered," he said Friday. "The main one was: Was there any damage up there?"

The magazine hired a photographer with powerful telephoto lenses to take a visual inventory of the sandstone surfaces. Those images "identified three distinct grooves worn by rope into the sandstone," the article said.

Despite earlier statements, Potter now says at least two other men ascended Delicate Arch before he did.

On May 7 after his climb, the climber had told The Tribune he was the first to make the ascent without ropes.

"I'm definitely the first person who's ever free-climbed it," he said at the time. "When I got up there, there was really no sign of anything, and I've found no record [of anyone else climbing it]."

But on Friday, Potter said he has subsequently learned that two other men had said they climbed Delicate Arch. Any damage to the sandstone could have come from them, he said.

A National Park Service investigation is ongoing, according to Arches Superintendent Laura Joss.

"We are taking this very seriously and are investigating all aspects of it," she said. "Delicate Arch is a Utah icon but is also revered by the whole country."

Investigators are aware that photographers were on the arch with Potter, Joss said.

"Because of the angle of the video, we could tell at least one person was above him."

Shortly after Potter's ascent, Park Service officials strengthened regulations aimed at keeping climbers off all named arches in the park. The new rules have angered many in the climbing community, according to Outside.

Potter said that should be the real issue.

"The National Park Service continues to limit environmentally minded user groups without talking to the public."

"I do regret the negativity that surrounds this climb," Potter said.

"But if it opens people's eyes to the diminishing use of the parks, then the negativity will be worth it."

06-03-2006, 10:25 AM
When Abby and I got married at Delicate Arch ( http://richardbarron.net/wedding/ ), we followed both the letter and the spirit of the law. We tried to keep our ceremony brief and simple, with respect to whomever might there, and to the place itself. The Park Service required us to have a Special Use Permit, which we did, and that permit spells out how we should conduct ourselves.

When I showed Abby the article about Dean Potter's stunt, she was appalled. There are so many cool places to climb in Utah. The only reason to climb Delicate Arch is to be the absolute center of attention. Potter is a four-year-old. And don't even get me started about the Michael Fatali Delicate Arch incident.

I'd also like to add that the bickering that goes on at the arch at sunset is inexcusable. If you've come to take pictures as the sun goes down, realize that the park belongs to all of us, including anyone who might want to pose in front of it. Just be quiet and enjoy the moment.


06-03-2006, 02:47 PM
I'd also like to add that the bickering that goes on at the arch at sunset is inexcusable. If you've come to take pictures as the sun goes down, realize that the park belongs to all of us, including anyone who might want to pose in front of it. Just be quiet and enjoy the moment.


Interesting. Is this quite the gathering place at sunset for pictures? If it is, I could imagine everybody trying to "get their shot" before the sun goes down.

Is there conflict that arises here?

06-03-2006, 05:51 PM

06-03-2006, 06:28 PM
Whoa! I can see how some "bickering" over getting a great shot can occur.


06-03-2006, 09:04 PM
Although it seems most likely that he's responsible for the rope grooves, i suppose the only way to really be sure, short of a full confession, is if the video/photo footage shows ropework corresponding to the exact location of the grooves.

06-08-2006, 11:30 AM
The latest from Patagonia:


Thank you for submitting your comments to us regarding Dean Potter's ascent
of Delicate Arch.

Since May 7th, we at Patagonia have had much discussion and debate about
where the company stands on Dean's controversial climb. Historically, we
have always stood by our Ambassadors and their actions. Our Ambassadors are
a part of Patagonia's close-knit family, and we trust them to act in ways
that they deem responsible. However, over the past few weeks, our internal
conversations have enlightened us to the reality of this unfortunate
situation. We strongly believe that Dean's actions warrant a public apology.

Here at Patagonia, we also want to extend an apology to you. We apologize
for not responding more quickly and decisively. We make no excuses, but in
explanation - Patagonia is always extremely hesitant to publicly denounce a
long-standing friend and Ambassador. Before we responded to our customers
and the media, we needed to hear his side of the story. We needed details.
We needed to speak at length with Dean, in person.

At the end of the day, we do feel Dean's climb of Delicate Arch was
inappropriate. Patagonia had no prior knowledge of his climb, nor did we
"sponsor" his activities. Sadly, his actions compromised access to wild
places and generated an inordinate amount of negativity in the climbing
community and beyond. We asked Dean to write a letter about his solo and the
ensuing maelstrom. His sentiments below best describe where he has landed on
the issue. It's his, and our, final word.

>From Dean Potter:

When I climbed Delicate Arch I certainly didn't foresee the controversy that
has ensued. I didn't think the climb would do anything but inspire people
to get out of their cars and experience the wild with all of their senses.
I was wrong. I am sincerely unhappy about climbers' loss of freedom caused
by my ascent. More, I am deeply hurt over the split this has put in our
climbing community. I want to explain my actions, bring the facts to
light, and hope that all of us can come to see the good in one another.
First, I admit it...I am a climber. I feel compelled to climb most
everything I see, and that included Delicate Arch. To me, all rocks are
sacred. When I climbed to the top of the Delicate Arch it was my highest
priority to do no harm to the rock or its surroundings. I climbed the Arch
in the highest and purest way I could, and I left it the same way I found
But I failed to foresee how Delicate Arch, for so many, is also an
untouchable symbol of our delicate relationship to nature. It is also a
symbol for me, but where I saw it as a chance to commune with the arch
through expressing my own art of climbing, others saw it as a violation of
what they also feel is sacred. Again, I had no intention of doing something
that would invoke such feelings, and for those who do feel that way, I
apologize because that certainly was not my intention.
Others have accused me of climbing the arch as a publicity stunt. As a
professional athlete, recognition of what I do is part of the job.
Most disturbing of all are those accusing me of responsibility for the rope
scars that have been documented conclusively on the top of the arch. I can
certainly understand why someone would conclude they were caused by my
ascent, but I believe the true answer lies in the details of my ascent, and
the possibility that there were other ascents previous to mine. I have
recently seen the close-up photos of the grooves at the top of the Arch and
can state with certainty that my actions did not cause them. But I was very
careful to place my rope in a natural groove in the rock. Since my climb I
have learned from first-hand witnesses that in the past at least two other
parties have lobbed ropes over the Arch and jumared up. Perhaps those
parties left the grooves. I know that I didn't.
None of my sponsors, including Patagonia, has ever influenced me to climb
anything. Again, I am sorry that the climb has negatively affected so many
people in our community of climbers, and I certainly am not ignoring the
views expressed in the Internet chat rooms and in the press. Peoples'
opinions are important to me and I value others' views, and I have been
troubled at the negativity this has stirred up. I saw the climb as
communing with nature, somehow, others have seen it as exploiting nature.
The National Park Service has strengthened rules about climbing in Arches
National Park, and people have blamed me for the loss of access. I
sincerely regret any loss of access...anywhere, anytime. Let me add that I
strongly advise anyone thinking of climbing the Delicate Arch not to try.
First, the climb is now unambiguously illegal. Second, the climbing
community and the Park Service should be friends and work together to
protect the environment and climbing access. Third, the Delicate Arch
really is fragile and repeated climbing would inevitably cause damage.
Finally, I apologize to Patagonia for the injury this has caused the company
and the brand. Patagonia is sincerely and deeply committed to their mission
of using business to provide solutions to the environmental crisis, and
regretfully, in the view of many of their customers, this has been
compromised by my ascent.

Again, we'd like to express our thanks for your input, and for your patience
as we've worked with Dean on an appropriate resolution to this issue.


06-08-2006, 12:37 PM
Hey thanks for posting that. Good read! I am glad he is finally taking some accountability for his actions.

06-08-2006, 01:27 PM
Hey thanks for posting that. Good read! I am glad he is finally taking some accountability for his actions.

I bet you it is only because his sponsor probably said in so many words,

06-08-2006, 01:32 PM
[quote=James_B_Wads2000]I bet you it is only because his sponsor probably said in so many words,

06-22-2006, 01:12 PM
Here's Pott(head)'s version of the story in his own words. Audio link in the upper left corner of the page.


No wonder he doesn't feel bad for climbing it. He can't even get the name right. "The Delicate Arch"? I bet he calls that National Park in the southwest corner of the state "Zion." Every body knows it's "Zion's" National Park 'cause Zion owns it :haha: . Either that or there's more than one of them :ne_nau: .

06-11-2008, 12:17 PM
I realize this is an old thread, but I thought it made sense to post that Dean Potter apparently lost his job with Patagonia over this incident. I never saw a press release, but he quietly disappeared from their "sponsored athlete" media last year. Makes me feel better about Chouinard's heart being in the right place.

Potter's job wasn't to "commune with nature"--what kind if justification for being an idiot is that? You do that on your own time when the photographers have gone home. And laying all the blame on the Park Service was infantile & pathetic.

In addition to being self-centered, narcissistic & arrogant, Potter is clueless. He obviously doesn't understand what his job really was. His ONLY job was to make the world a bigger place by inflating our imaginations, getting us excited, expanding the boundaries of the possible.

Instead, he bent the rules, climbed a feature even he admits can't support climbing pressure, then lied about the circumstances. And in so doing, the consequences made the world smaller for every climber from now on.

Thanks, Dean.

06-11-2008, 12:33 PM
Wow has it been 2 years since he did this? Time goes by quick. LOL