Potter Speaks About Arches Climb

Dean Potter, the guy who climbed Delicate Arch inside of Arches National Park, spoke last week to NPR about the incident. The radio interview [Utah Park Officials Fret over Climb of Delicate Arch] is worth a listen. Potter was asked to comment about a claim made by Outside Magazine that he scarred the soft sandstone with ropes used to hoist himself and a camera man to the top of the arch. Outside has some pretty convincing photos that damage has been done to the famous arch.

Patagonia, who has sponsored Potter's climbing, says they were unaware of his plans to climb Delicate Arch. In the aftermath of the climb, they have asked Potter to apologize for the climb. In the NPR interview, when given the chance to apologize, Potter instead chooses to shift blame for the climb on the National Park Service. His words:
I regret the negative press that has come with my climb of the Delicate Arch. But I think that there is a bigger picture. And I would hope that it could open the eyes of the public and the community to the bigger problem of what's going on, which is the mismanagement of our wild lands and the National Park
What a jerk! Mismanagement on the Park? Who was climbing the arch for personal glory, was it Potter or the Park Superintendent? What is Potter saying, that it is the fault of the Park for not making it crystal clear that the arch was off limits? Would Potter rather see the Park Service rope off the area surrounding Delicate Arch and pin signs to the base that read "Don't be a fool, keep off the arch". And what did Potter imagine might happen after his climb? Legions of up-and-comers who would need to prove themselves by soloing the 5.12 Potter route up the arch. Quoting Moab area climber Jimmie Dunn from the Outside article: "We all knew not to climb it, and Dean knew that, too. He had to put a flag on top. It makes me want to vomit." I agree with you Jimmie.


Wow, what the heck? I'm surprised he didn't get busted and charged with something. It's called Delicate Arch for a reason, and it'd be a shame if it was no more.