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Dave Brower's spirit lives!

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The article “Invasion of the Rock Jocks” presented a stilted picture of the climbing community’s commitment to environmental protection (HCN, 7/7/03: Invasion of the Rock Jocks). While pointing out the importance of educating young climbers and meeting the challenges of new trends in the sport, the article fails miserably to answer its own questions. Are there still climbers willing to come down from the mountains — or boulders — to save the mountains? Absolutely!

In Utah, former mayor and climbing pioneer Ted Wilson has led the charge for wilderness protection for many years, and serves on the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance board. The owner of Black Diamond, a climbing company, recently took on the governor over a backroom deal that hurt chances for important lands to become designated wilderness. In fact, many local climbers I climb with share my fanaticism about protecting our wilderness, cleaning up after other user groups, and setting an example for younger climbers. We’re not old-timers; we’re young professionals in our twenties.

We hike many miles to access climbing routes in wilderness areas, while ORV users cruise by in defiance of the law. We volunteer to clean up camping areas and trails. We donate substantial sums to protect open space from development. We lobby our elected officials on a range of environmental issues, including wilderness preservation.

Many climbers share the passion of HCN readers for conservation and environmental protection. Let’s work together instead of creating misperceptions that keep us apart.

Joshua Ewing
Salt Lake City, Utah

The writer is founder of the Salt Lake Trail Cooperative.

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