Save-The-Tree Anchors at Frog: everyone loves a controversy!
During December 1999 I received word directly from Darrin Carter that someone had removed a number of Save-The-Tree anchors from the top of climbs at Frog Buttress. Disgusted, the next day I composed an email which I sent off to the Queensland Climbing Discussion List. That email follows:
|As most of you are probably aware, there is a fund set up at K2 where people donate for the installation of Save-The-Tree anchors at Frog Buttress. These are installed (and primarily paid for, apart from the donations) by Darrin Carter. These anchors consist of padded chain or cable around trees at the top of routes to allow climbers to rap off the trees without ringbarking them when ropes are pulled down. There have been over 30 of these anchors installed at Frog to date.
Recently, Scott Camps, author of the Frog guide and SE Queensland climbing traditionalist has chopped and removed a number (at least four) of these anchors. We don't know how many more he is planning to remove, but it seems reasonable to suggest that he will try to take as many as he can. His argument is that adding these anchors changes the nature of the route, and has made Frog more popular with climbers.
Before blood is spilled over this issue, I want to take the pulse of the climbing community. A petition, if you will.
If you approve of the Save-The-Tree anchors at Frog, please send a quick response to this message and let me know. If you disapprove, please respond also, preferably with reasons why you dislike them. The results will be published in the coming issue of qurank (Jan, 2000). Also, if you are a supporter of the anchors, be vocal in your support of them around the crags. Tell other climbers what's happening so some pressure can be applied to stop this stupidity.
"People can choose to climb scary routes, but no one chooses a scary belay"
Shortly afterwards, I got a phone call (and then a written response) from Scott Camps, and he assured me that he was not responsible for the removal of the anchors in question. He admitted to removing the anchor above Egotistical Pineapple, because he was not happy with the placement of the pitons which were used. So, if it is that Scott didn't in fact remove the other anchors, I'd like to apologise to him and set the record straight. As it stands, we still don't know who is responsible. It is also unknown exactly which anchors have been removed.
However, in response to that email, over the next week or so my Inbox was inundated with 29 responses, which are all still valid regardless of who removed the anchors, or how many were removed. I have included every one of those responses (for, ambivalent, or against the anchors) here. If you're interested in this issue, I'll leave it to you to read through each of the responses and make up your own mind.
As you can see below, while the support for the anchors is not completely universal, it is overwhelming. It seems that almost all responses (regardless of opinion) stress both the environment and the safety of climbers. It will be up to us (the local climbing body) to determine how this issue pans out, but let's hope we can exert some pressure to prevent further anchor removals and ensure the longevity of Frog's clifftop fauna.
|For (25 responses, 16100 bytes)||Ambivalent (3 responses, 3122 bytes)||Against (1 response, 2281 bytes)|
|"Dufus !!!!" (60 bytes)||"Experience and less safety Vs
inexperience and more safety" (344 bytes)
|"I don't get the bush experience I got 10 years ago. These days I see people climb with mobile phones swinging from their harnesses." (2281 bytes)|
|"People are going to be at Frog regardless" (84 bytes)||"I decided not to take sides." (178 bytes)|
|"The top of Frog is utter choss" (140 bytes)||"I fail to really see a tree being ringbarked by a rope being pulled down." (2600 bytes)|
|"If some bozo doesn't want to use a chain anchor, well that's his/her business" (1441 bytes)|
|"Safety and conservation should not be things to fight against" (1010 bytes)|
|"I'm definitely in favour of safe, environmentally friendly anchors" (200 bytes)|
|"Nobody has your support more than me" (1103 bytes)|
|"I think it's a fantastic idea!" (36 bytes)|
|"Traditionalist=elitist" (296 bytes)|
|"...damage to the trees will ultimately kill them." (444 bytes)|
|"Taking the protection away will not stop climbers using the trees." (281 bytes)||Above: Looking out across Frog's clifftop - the zone of contention - in the failing light of the late afternoon. You can see why people feel passionately about this area.|
|"...sacrifice the health of the natural environment" (524 bytes)|
|"The removal of these anchors promotes the destruction of the natural vegetation" (791 bytes)|
|"...if you want to get really ethical we should all solo..." (322 bytes)|
|"We will all lose out if access is lost because of this." (448 bytes)|
|"I think the anchors are a great idea." (43 bytes)|
|"The trees should be looked after" (74 bytes)|
|"...actually donated some $$$ the other day" (134 bytes)|
|"My climbing partners and I all agreed that the increase in anchors at Frog over the last couple of years is a step in the right direction" (2178 bytes)|
|"...any lower limbs (below the ringbarking) will be starved of the assimilates produced through photosynthesis" (3771 bytes)|
|"what is killing the tree doing to the ORIGINAL CLIMB????" (539 bytes)|
|"I feel that the anchors are a good idea" (1462 bytes)|
|"I think that whoever is doing it is bang out of order!" (329 bytes)||Above: Pretty self-explanatory.|
|"I strongly support your plea to save the tree anchors." (60 bytes)|
|"Egotistical climbing is a thing of the past" (648 bytes)|
Thank you guys and gals for your responses. Trust me when I say that people are listening, and by showing your support as you've done, you're helping to protect Frog's environment. This kind of 'community voice' is what qurank is all about.