Regarding Steve Jackson's "Top of Their Game" in the September 21 issue:
It would seem as though the PC police have now found it necessary to inflict their own brand of morality even on top of our highest mountains. In your story about the "Fourteeners Cleaner," it is clear that the main motivation for the group is to try something to discourage people from enjoying the same activity that they enjoy.
Yes, the registry canisters can be hit by lightning, crushed by rocks or vandalized, and it would be hoped that anyone would pack out the resulting mess, but that's not reason enough to go around removing undamaged canisters. People climb Fourteeners because of the mountains, not because of the registries, and removing the canisters will not stop people from climbing the mountains.
The best reason for having the registries on top of our Fourteeners is to provide a relief for that part of human nature that moves people to want to leave behind something that says "I was here." The Native Americans left pictographs all over the continent; the Spanish and English settlers carved their names all over the Southwest and various stops along the Oregon and Santa Fe trails. Accepting human nature as it is and always has been, I would rather have the registries on top of the mountains than have the tops of our mountains covered with painted and carved rocks.
Robert W. Shannon
Thank you for clarifying the motivations of "Bob," who steals register cylinders from the summits of Fourteeners. Bob believes that too many people climb Fourteeners for the wrong reason. Shouldn't people decide on their own reasons to climb Fourteeners?
The public lands of Colorado are for everyone to enjoy as long as their behavior is legal. Certainly let us remove any trash or debris from the tops of Fourteeners. But I have been on many Fourteeners, and it is very rare for a cylinder to be broken or unsightly.
Steve Jackson's article about the Fourteener register thieves was an excellent piece of reporting on a subject that local newsprint media tend to ignore. (Thank you, Steve!)
I am quite disturbed by "Bob" and his gang of eco-thugs. As an avid climber, I can appreciate their desire to keep trails maintained and summits free of debris, but the register of a peak is not trash, having been packed in as a service to the mountaineer. Bob should spend a minute finding a suitable paperweight for the register (perhaps his head) and less time stroking his ice ax in the thin air.
I find it interesting that "Bob," who admitted to bagging Fourteeners in his youth before his mountain consciousness evolved into "the more sublime alpine experience," would like to eliminate that opportunity for everyone else. Many times people need a challenge to become interested in the Colorado mountains, then become environmental advocates after they've climbed a few peaks. Obviously, the "sublime alpine experience" has done nothing to affect Bob's character. Bob believes he's a righteous guardian of the mountains, but in reality, he is a selfish and dishonest thief.
I would like to personally add a $500 reward for the apprehension of "Bob" and his gang of thieves stealing the registers off of Colorado's mountain summits.
This self-righteous little twit needs to reflect on the good works that the Colorado Mountain Club has done over the last seventy-odd years to preserve these areas and prevent the kind of despoilment that would have happened had they not intervened.
Bob says he climbed Little Bear. Did Bob notice the names carved into the rocks at the summit there? Given the dubious yet undeniable tendency of people to want to make a mark of some sort at the top, would Bob prefer the summits be covered with that?
Come on, Bob. Canisters break because of rocks, hungry marmots and normal wear and tear. If they do, the rest of us appreciate your efforts to tidy them up. But cut out this other crap, because the registers do more good than harm, and we can sure as hell replace them faster than you can take them.
W. Bart Berger
It's Miller Time
Regarding Ward Harkavy's "Don't Start the Revolution Without Me," in the September 21 issue:
Your biased article painting Pat Miller as a conservative radical did not point out the liberal--often considered radical by some--agenda of David Skaggs.
David Skaggs concentrates on the abortion issue because it draws attention from his other policies. These include the tax-and-spend Democratic policy that has driven this country into bankruptcy, support for gun-control laws that violate the very premise of the Constitution, support for federal mandates that disregard Amendment 10, and the socialization of one of the biggest industries in the country. If opposition to these views is considered radical, then I can group myself with this radical collection, along with the rest of the ignored conservative electorate in David Skaggs's district (a group that might possibly compose up to 60 percent).