I am a long-time climber and resident of Wyoming and have worked here as a professional mountain guide for the past five years. I would like to make it known that many climbers and guides of Wyoming support the voluntary closure of climbing at Devils Tower (HCN, 4/16/96). It is unfortunate that many of the climbing community think themselves and their climbing more important than the spiritual tradition of an indigenous people that have already been deprived of justice and respect for far too long.
All the park and the Indians are asking for is one month - surely for one month we can climb someplace else.
The climbing community often views itself as environmentally and politically righteous. In reality we are just another special-use group which has its own impact on the environment and indigenous peoples. Whether it is trampled vegetation on the Lower Saddle of the Grand Teton, piles of garbage at Everest base camp, Nepalese villagers, or Lakota Sun Dancers, we need to be responsible and respectful of the people and places that we visit.
Forrest G. McCarthy