kill this forum!

Submitted by databot on Tue, 12/21/2004 - 00:54
First, a caveat - I use web forums like and including montana ice to monitor or check climbing conditions regularly. So I am no luddite. But I a forum on conditions for Glacier? What a shame. What a damn shame. Climbing in Da Park is wilderness climbing. It's about uncertainty, about not knowing whether something is in and "sick" but taking your best guess and going anyway. And getting skunked. Or not. It's about climbing without a donkey trail to the base and without being able to hook pick holes or steps from the last party. It's about climbing what you get to in the conditions it's in when you get there. Or not. It's about figuring out the descent on your own, without some posting by yesterday's party to tell you that the walk off is easier than it looks. Or not. There are so few places now where a wilderness experience like that is so readily available. Why not leave it that way in Glacier? I can hear the obvious rebuttals now - no, I'm not trying to keep the place to myself. Just the opposite - I want others who climb here to have a chance at similar experiences as those I've been fortunate enough to have over the past 10 years. And yes, I could just not read the forum or post to it. By the same token, if you want certainty in your climbing, go somewhere else. Post and read all you want about somewhere else. I and anyone else who climbs here still has to deal with the consequences of this forum. The game is changed for everyone when conditions are so readily available. Sharing info via a forum like this speeds everything up the way high speed quads speed up how fast a ski area gets skied out after a storm. I have no problem with that in places like hyalite or cody or the canadian rockies - it eases congestion amongst the large numbers of resident and/or visiting climbers. But glacier is not those places. I believe that climbers as a whole - all of us, as a community, whether we climb here or not - are better off by having somewhere like Glacier where the experience is different because we have less info. It's an expedition in our own backyards, *if* we limit the amount of info that's available. Kill this forum. thanks, blase

If some want to kill the forum for Glacier, should we not also throw out "Big Sky Ice?" Does't that information also speed up things and allow people "inside information" on climbs in the park? If we want the wilderness experience we should be exploring unchartered terrain. Some of us don't have the luxury of unlimited time off to go explore climbs that are not in - whether we previously knew of them or not. Those of you that do have that luxury, more power to you - but don't let your desire for unexplored territory to burden those of us that do not. Some of us treasure each free day that we have and want to make the most of it - ON ICE. One of the ways we can enhance our limited time off is to have the advanced knowledge of what climbs are in and what are not - much the same way we use guidebooks. Our guidebooks are designed to save us the time of hunting out new climbs by supplying us the information on existing climbs. These forums provide the same type of information. I appreciate this information as do many others, I'm sure. Simply supplying information on Glacier ice should not take away from your experience climbing it. Another's contribution to a forum will never replace your own experiences - they will always be yours. As you stated yourself, if you do not wish to know the status of the climbs in Glacier Park, don't visit the forum. If you don't want to know, you don't have to read it. caw

Blase I read your letter with utter amazment! I question why you don't want others posting conditions of the climbing within Glacier Park, when you yourself have posted the snow conditions WITHIN Glacier Park even IN the Snyder drainage!! I look through Glacier Country Avalanche Center's web page and am amazed at the number of observations you have posted throughout previous winters, WITHIN the park? It seems hipocritical to condone my postings of ice conditions while you yourself have posted many more observations of the skiing conditions. My second point is this- I remember when Ryan and you climbed a new route above Lake Ellen Wilson. I remember how stoked you were about this sweet new route. I recall you talking much about it, with many people, in the weeks following your climb. I do the same, I love talking with others, getting stoked on climbing and learning about what's in and what's "sick!" You may not reach as many people this way, but the principle is the same as this web forum. To quote Alex Lowe directly from the Barrel logbook- "This book is dedicated to climbers past, present and future and the spirt shared by all those who love the hills- to share your love for climbing is a gift- write down your events-" Blase I understand where your coming from, I have skied and climbed in the past with you and respect your love for Glacier Park. This view is all my own and I don't mean at all to anger anyone. It is just my way of saying, don't kill the forum, let it live!! Bob

Yep, I post snow conditions all the time. It's part of my job. I work in the park's backcountry all winter and spring. And snow is far less of a limited resource than ice. Moreover, the snow/ avie info is far more general than the ice info. Look at some of those posts and you'll see sometimes I only give the name of the mountain range. Where i give more info it's often for very specific reasons related to the railroad or highway. And yes, you have heard me share my love for climbing - and snow - many, many times. In that I think I'm following Alex's dictum very well, thank you. What's different about sharing ice conditions on a web forum? Lots. I've followed a number of web forums in the US and canada in the past few years and I've watched how they've evolved. As soon as someone posts that conditions on liberty ridge or dragontail's triple couloirs are good, there a a dozen posts in the days that follow recounting people doing the climb. People that didn't figure out the snow or weather conditions on their own. Some of them then trash-talk the climb. Posting on the web makes information available at a speed that is simply not possible in conversations amongst a community. The increased speed - and distance - at which info is available dramatically increases the number of people repeating routes. And more importantly, it dramatically reduces the level of commitment those climbers have. The more info you have, the less commitment you have. You know a route is in because you read a post from the day before - so your whole attitude towards the route changes. You know it's in friendly, fortunate conditions - so you go when you might not otherwise have gone, instead of making the commitment to go and be willing to turn back. You know the party before you left two v threads and where they are - so you know you can back off easier. So maybe you don't give it all you've got when you're on the route. Info reduces commitment. Period. And that's fine, when what we want is to maximize our one day off. But there are plenty of places where we can go and do that - I've driven to Gibralter Falls and back in a day because I wanted to be sure to climb. The number of places where people can go climb magnificent routes based on word of mouth and a crappy guidebook is growing ever smaller in the lower forty eight. What I'm proposing is that we leave Glacier one of those places. Maybe the only place. Talk about it all you want. Share your passion. But don't post. In reply to Ice Farmer, some questions and thoughts: how much uncharted terrain is left? How many places have a guidebook and web forum? Do we want to have the same experience in every place? As climbers we are always playing a game of restraint - in what we consider fair means and good style in completing a climb. We don't always do things for convenience or to maximize our precious time. If we wanted to get to the top of a peak while maximizing our days off, we'd fly helicopters. Sure, no one wants to get skunked on their one day of climbing for the week. But that's part of the game - a big part of it in Glacier. You want to be sure to climb? Climb somewhere else. Farm ice next to highway 2. :wink: Leave Glacier for when you have more time. The other way to look at it - not all of us can afford time or money to go to pakistan to climb uncharted terrain - but we can have a great adventure trip in glacier, if we leave it uncharted. One of the tenents in climbing is that we try to emulate as much as possible the style in which a route was first done. None of the routes in Glacier was done with the info from a web forum. The 1st ascentionists did not have someone's post to tell them when something was in, or what the avie conditions were. They figured it out - and went home empty handed when they were wrong. I know personally. I know of one line in the park that has been attempted at least 6 times by multiple teams of the strongest climbers the park has seen, including the creator of this website. Everybody has risked their precious day off - and gone home empty handed. You can too once in awhile. You want to do a route in glacier in good style? Do it with the same level of info as the 1st ascentionists - don't read the posts. My basic point is this: there is enough info about ice in the park out there. What's there is just enough to allow us as climbers to have an experience possible in few other places in this country. If we leave it that way, someone who starts climbing in 5 or 10 years will have a chance at the same experience in big, uncharted terrain as I've had, and people have right now. If not, I and a few other people had that experience. Everyone else gets sloppy seconds. I'm not that selfish. I'd like to share what I've been fortunate enough to have. I think that too is part of sharing the gift of climbing - a really big part of it. As climbers we make decisions to refrain from a particular way of climbing all the the time. And it works - look at the sandstone climbs in germany and the czech republic (or slovakia?) climbers agreed decades ago - the 30s i think - to adopt very specific rules about placing gear. And they've held to them. THey now have a remarkable and unique climbing area. Sure, you don't on-sight at your limit when you're jamming knots in huecos, but that's the experience there. I argue that we do something similar for glacier - no web forum. We maintain commitment by reducing info like the way the eastern euros refrained from certain types of pro in order to maintain commitment. Try it and feel how the experience changes the next time you're skiing into Snyder. Or wherever. As for dumping Big Sky Ice, that's a topic for another thread. :roll:

Good Heavens! I don't look in this forum for a few days, and you guys are hard at it discussing the Merits and De-Merits of posting Glacier Ice climbing conditions on the web! Exellent! Being the creator of this website, and holding a staunch Montana anti-publishing ethic ( no, ... really ... ), and also being served up my share of rejection slips in Glacier, I can't help but add my two cents worth: 1) Having information about recent ascents or attempts [i]does [/i] affect the committment level that climbers experience, no doubt. 2) And, having the information on the web does result in increased traffic, among people who can go there and do that. I see these two as the primary reasons why not to have a forum regarding Glacier on the web. But- 1) Conditions in glacier change very rapidly! This almost makes these information pages useless. Notice the sub-title under the glacier page: " BEWARE! Conditions change quickly here, so check the most recent weather conditions you can!" I put that there because just knowing (slightly past ) ice conditions in Glacier is useless without the ability to put that together with a weather and avalanche forecast, and determine "This weekend will be a good time for me to drive out and climb Cannon Fodder." Not many people can do that, and I think we know most of them! It requires some experience climbing in Glacier, and judgement. 2) Glacier doesn't lie near population centers the way Triple Couloirs and Liberty Ridge do. No matter how much people know about conditions in Glacier they still have to get there- and things may have gone from clear cold solid to wet and slidey, or dumping snow. When Kirby wanted to clean up in the Park, he move to Whitefish-locals have a strong inside track. Yes, having ice conditions posted on the website will lead to more traffic on some climbs, during periods of stable weather and avalanches. People will strap on skate skiis, zip up to Goat Chaser, and climb it in a few hours round-trip because they have extra info and a broken trail. Finally, lets remember that if the people active climbing in some area don't post, there won't be any info out there for people to utilize. In fact, this can be used by locals to "concentrate" use rather than "disperse" it. A well placed post advertising how the cattle trail climb is in great shape can divert visiting climbers to that route- keeping other routes available. Remeber, YOU are doing the climbing, and YOU are doing the posting. Use the web as a tool.

:( sour grapes! seems like there are two views to the subject. those that need the information and appreciate the ability to log on and hear what conditions are like and those that don't need the information but still choose to log on and bitch. Does the Forum killer not check this site for conditions locally or around the state, check other sites in Canada for conditions, or does he simply only climb in his back yard and want Glacier all to himself? the amount of posts in the hyalite section would imply that there are a more than average number of climbers in the area this year due to the forums and information being available. To a small degree this is true but for the most part the majority of the people visiting Hyalite are looking for helpful approach information or conditions for a particular climb and are only climbing routes that have traditionally been high traffic for many years. Winter Dance in Hyalite is a prime example of how information can work both ways. Many parties have tried this season but only a few have been successful in their ascent. The information can be interprated into thinking the route is too difficult or out of shape when maybe it was just the person tryng to make the ascent that wasn't capable. It still is there to climb but, "you can't win if you don't play!" The web does provide people with more knowledge to pursue their climb but it still hasn't hauled them up the climb. they have to go and make the climb on their own accord, just reading about it on the web never actually accomplishes anything. For those that get the first tracks they earned the rewards that come with the first ascent of the season, the highest quality in ice climbing. others can therefore choose to find different routes that have not been tracked up. those within the region might know what has been done, what is picked out, and also what hasn't been touched providing the best of adventures but for those outside the region it may also help to spread out visiting climbers. Last, I would say having information available allows those without endless time to enjoy the hours they do get and find that same love for a place that is there for all of us. Instead of holding up in the cave and expecting everyone else to stop by or call for a glimpse of your top secert information, embrace the information and use it as a tool to go further and inspire others to find that same joy you found while you were out. Smile, we are all climbing to enjoy the sport. kristoffer erickson

To state the obvious Blas?, you?re being an arrogant elitist if not down right selfish! The idea that the only way information should be sheared is by word of mouth (presumably limited to your mouth) is absurd. Think about the climbers from out of state who have saved up their time and money over the past year just for an opportunity to climb in the park for a week. To withhold this information would in effect, make it a very expensive ?crap-shoot?. If as you say your intent is to truly ensure an authentic ?wilderness experience? can we then assume that you park your ozone depleting vehicle at the entrance of the park and either walk or ski all the way into the climbs without the aid of a map or use of those ?man-made? trails. You see once you start down the path of an ?elitist? it becomes so slippery that even the metal edges of your modern alpine/touring skies make it difficult to navigate. If we were to apply this same line of reasoning to technology where would the line be drawn and who would be the one drawing the line? Does the use of technologically advanced equipment detract from ones experience when compared to the equipment used on the first ascent, or is it just different? It all depends on your perspective. One can always make a climb more difficult (or Pure if you will) on rock climb without the sticky rubber and chalk, on ice use an alpine axe with flexible crampons. It all becomes very subjective and contrived and is better left to personal preference or convictions as long as they are not imposed on the climbing community in general. You were correct when you said; ?And yes, I could just not read this forum or post to it.? but when you continued by saying; ?By the same token?? you lost it. There were no similarities. Given your physical conditioning along with your extensive knowledge of the backcountry there are still many F/A to be done in the park with long adventurous approaches. I know by reputation that you?re a talented climber and your backcountry skiing exploits are legendary, however on this topic I would urge you to rethink your position.

Careful, now, Kephoto and pony mt - you're getting pretty close to making personal attacks. The aim is to have a dialogue about what ethic is appropriate. That's the point of having a community forum, and being part of a community means respecting that others in that community bring different but very legit viewpoints to the table. Just because you don't agree with me doesn't mean you sneer at my ideas or assume my motives are suspect. There's enough of that &^% going around elsewhere in this world; no need to bring it here. I think you both miss my point. Which is: posting conditions on a webpage like this reduces uncertainty, as Kephoto has made very clear. That's why it's so useful. In glacier - unlike hyalite - uncertainty has been in integral part of the experience - and so posting conditions irrevocably changes the experience - for everyone. Since we now have webforums for most areas - canada, cascades, cody, etc etc - why not keep one place different? Yes, it means expensive crapshoots - what's wrong with that once in awhile? It would be a different experience than hyalite - why not? There's nothing wrong with hyalite - i like climbing there - but do we need to have the same experience at every climbing area? Yes, it's somewhat arbitrary to set the line at no posting of conditions when we could take it all the way back to wool knickers and wooden tools and walking to our climbs. Climbing is full of arbitrary rules or ethics - aid vs free, on-sight vs flash ascents, etc etc etc. There's not alot that holds those rules into a coherent package, except maybe the idea that we're trying to preserve the first ascentionists' experience as much as possible and we consistently try to make an ascent of a route harder or in better style. Same here. That's not a disguised attempt to keep the place to myself, whatever y'all may think. I've encouraged people to climb here in glacier for years - even y'all down in bozeman. My aim is to see this community develop an ethic for glacier that takes its unique experience into account. The unknown is a very, very limited resource. -blase

The problem with all of this is that no matter who you are or where you live, someone will always have an area right in their backyard that they'd like to see protected. For you, it's Glacier. For others, it may be Waterton, Hyalite, Cody, the Canadian Rockies (Banff) - I could go on and on. It seems unfair that you want Glacier protected but have no problem with others who might feel violated when their areas are posted on the web. You seem to only have a problem with postings on Glacier - but no where else. As it's been stated before, if YOU want the uncertainty of climbing in Glacier, don't read the forums. There will always be people out there who don't like one posting type or another - but we all have the freedom of choice to decide which forums we'll read and which ones we won't. Some of us feel that our experiences in Glacier will not be hindered by reading another's experience in a forum - so we like reading the information and will continue to do so. If you are uncomfortable with that, then just don't visit them. And while postings provide insight to an area, there are still many levels of uncertainty involved with climbing. The weather that day, the people you're with, how YOU are feeling that day, the avalanche danger, etc. I myself have gone to a climb that I was certain I could do and just didn't feel right about it that day and had to back off - that uncertainty is there every time you climb. Those types of things won't change no matter how much you read in a forum. Maybe we should just agree to disagree, but please, let's NOT kill the forum.

Are you still thinking Blase? One last comment before things are washed under the table. I understand your desire to focus on a slight difference in ethics within the region as you see Glacier developing. All is not bad with this equation. With more people there will be more routes for everyone to climb and better access that can be attained through higher use numbers. The downfalls to additional traffic are apparent. Recently these opportunities and or downfalls have arrived in Hyalite and the possibility to explore and do new routes still unfolds, the adventure is still there. The Glacier Park area holds one of the largest concentrations of new routes with countless unpublished adventures still waiting to happen, providing endless climbing projects for decades to come despite increases in numbers of climbers. Why not keep the sprit of adventure alive and inspire everyone to find the next great climb. These forums have become a small piece of the climbing puzzle just the same as the desire to keep up on the latest in climbing gear. We become interested in what?s new with equipment even though we don?t really need anything, we simply desire to improve our climbing. WE all enjoy the sport and want to continue to grow with it. The ability to share information is the best tool to grow; a powerful tool that can help to expand and enlighten more people than isolating an area and forcing people to pretend that information doesn?t exist. Instead of debating whether the forum should be up or not why not look at the forum and enlighten people with all that can be learned from your years of experience climbing in the park. Why not help people to enjoy the sport and allow the forum space to better educate people on the style and ethics you feel so strongly could be lost. What are the values that will keep Montana and Glacier wild as new routes get established without locking the gate on information? With information you can better ensure that new routes maintain the character & history of the area and establish climbs that generations will look forward to climbing. It?s been said before about the stone in England that there isn?t enough to F$#k up so let?s do it right the first time. Without this power to educate people on how you wish the area to become developed you are more likely to lose what you love. The highest quality route is one in which no matter how much information is available, it still requires the most of us mentally, physically and continues to inspire new generations wanting a similar experience long after we are all gone. Our ability to communicate information is what makes that possible. Kristoffer Erickson