Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Admire from a distance

The National Park Service officially banned climbing on named arches and natural bridges in Arches National Park today following a documented climb.

Dean Potter, 34, has photos and video of himself climbing up and rappelling from Delicate Arch - several times - on Sunday morning.

Arches Park Superintendent Laura Joss told The Associated Press she reported Potter’s climb to the Interior Department, and that rangers were investigating possible damage to the arch.

The new rules on climbing are posted on the park’s Web site. (Thanks to the National Park Service for the photo of Delicate Arch.)

“It’s one of the most beautiful things in the world to climb, and because it wasn’t illegal I decided to climb it,” Potter said. He studied the cracks and crevices on the arch for years, looking for a route he could take without climbing aids. He rated it a difficult climb, with some overhangs on the way up.

“I respected nature to the fullest. The most damage I did to the arch was to blow a little dust from the hand and footholds,” he told the AP.

A photographer was once charged with a misdemeanor for setting fires under Delicate Arch (the span displayed on Utah license plates).

(posted by editor Dena)

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