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#25580 - 07/02/12 10:53 PM Historic summit registers are missing from High Sierra peaks
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles

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#25581 - 07/02/12 11:16 PM Re: Historic summit registers are missing from High Sierra peaks [Re: Ken]
BryanB Offline


Registered: 09/15/11
Posts: 49
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
What a shame - I can't understand why someone would take these registers. I really don't think it's because people see it as trash on the mountain - they clearly don't seem to care about leaving their wag bags behind. It's also not a piece that would make a good souvenir - the point of a souvenir is to have something from a trip you can show others. You certainly can't show a stolen summit register to others, unless you enjoy being a thief and bragging about it to your friends.

I just don't get it.

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#25592 - 07/03/12 07:52 AM Re: Historic summit registers are missing from High Sierra peaks [Re: BryanB]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
It's possible that some registers have been blown-off by winter winds, but not terribly likely. Even pawn shops would not be interested in buying stolen items.

People steal all manner of things in the backcountry: food, camping and climbing gear, clothing, cameras. It's worse at trailheads with car break-ins.

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#25593 - 07/03/12 08:04 AM Re: Historic summit registers are missing from High Sierra peaks [Re: Bob West]
MooseTracks Offline


Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 582
Loc: Bishop, CA, United States
This story has been around for the past few years, and is agonizingly true.

Ethics are difficult since they differ for every person. I recently met someone who thought summit registers were trash (yet, ironically had no problem signing into them), but bolting the rock faces of the Alabama Hills was OK because "it's not that pretty anyway."

(I think someone likened the ensuing discussion between us as a lion pouncing on a lamb...)

I spend about 2 minutes looking for a register when I get to a summit. Then, it's a shrug, an oh well, take a picture (right, wagga?), and find a kick-it rock to enjoy the view. If there is a register, I can smile my way through it finding friends, then adding my own tagline.

There are those who watch ebay and Craig's List to see if the registers turn up. Me, I just hope they have been taken to Bancroft in Berkeley, but I admit that's probably a naive dream.
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#25597 - 07/03/12 08:49 AM Re: Historic summit registers are missing from High Sierra peaks [Re: MooseTracks]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
As Laura notes, this issue has been circulating for some time. I was surprised to see it on the front page of the Times! Musta been a slow news day, they gotta write about mountaineers. smile

The thief (and I don't think there is a bunch of them) is not a routine tourist.

Black Kaweah changes the story, as that is a non-trivial dangerous climb.

I always like the romance of "the registers belong to the mountains", although I also believed in preservation of the only record of some of these wonderful mountaineers. For some, there are few if any pictures, and no video. At some point, they won't exist anymore, and that makes me sad.

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#25600 - 07/03/12 09:26 AM Re: Historic summit registers are missing from High Sierra peaks [Re: Ken]
CMC2 Offline


Registered: 11/04/09
Posts: 160
Loc: CO
I was able to sign the Black Kaweah register in August 1958. What a thrill to find Walter Starr Jr's signature, written in blood even! I spent a long time reading the ancient dated signatures with a virtual Whos Who of Sierra Nevada climbing history.

A friend of mine did the climb years later in 2005 and the register was still there and he too had the pleasure of reading a marvelous history of Black Kaweah climbs.

Recently in Colorado the forest service and the Colorado Mt Club have been removing the Brass cylinders that contain the summit registers. Many of us felt they were being stolen but the expressed reason for the removal was: they attract lightning and are dangerous. I found a beautiful Brass one at a garage sale and asked the person doing the sale the history of how it got in their garage. She said her son had brought one back as a trophy of his climb. I bought it and the next time I was in the Colorado Mt Club office in Golden, CO gave it to someone in the office that I knew. She told me actually that the kid did someone a service as it meant that no one would have to climb that peak and retrieve the Brass cylinder. Since the cylinders are numbered it was easy to identify which peak it had come from. It turned out that it was from a previous 14er Grizzly Peak that had been downgraded to only a high 13er 13,988' so the mt got its revenge on the kid = he didn't bag a 14er after all.

PVC tubes are widely used now and apparently lack the attraction as they seem to stay put on the summits.

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#25640 - 07/03/12 07:55 PM Re: Historic summit registers are missing from High Sierra peaks [Re: CMC2]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1556
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Seriously: there have been recorded instances of brass cylinders attracting more lightning hits than say, aluminum pack frames, steel water bottles, protection hardware and trekking poles?
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#25675 - 07/04/12 11:15 AM Re: Historic summit registers are missing from High Sierra peaks [Re: saltydog]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
From Peter Haan, on Supertopo:

Another similar story, perhaps even worse, is the tale of the running logbook of first ascents we kept in Camp Four for many years. It was a loose ring binder and jammed with everyone's handwritten tops and route descriptions. Mine too. It became quite huge. It was priceless, obviously, completely authentic, and terribly valuable to all of us, especially the guidebook writers. Well it was in a variety of hands through the years and everyone knew where it was. Participation in it was active and ongoing. It was terrifically important by the mid-seventies. Eventually it ended up mounted in a box on a tree east of Columbia Boulder and lived there for I don't know how long. At one point, some non-climber low-life white trash took a site nearby and needed to make fires for their dumb activities and pulled the damn thing off the tree and used it for fuel. That was the end of this amazing document from our history, all original entries, hundreds of them, highly colorful and interesting. Gone. This tale has appeared on Supertopo before, but not in recent years.

I say here that that ring binder should not have been left on the tree in original state. It should have been copied out, archived and a facsimile grunted up and put back on the tree for continuing participation. It had become so terrifically valuable, historic and one-of-a-kind that we needed to make a copy of it. In a way, it was our fault, but nobody had a clue about such things back then, and it was pretty hard still to take our climbing lives seriously enough that we would consider our artifacts of any importance in the runaway years to come.

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#25729 - 07/05/12 10:48 PM Re: Historic summit registers are missing from High Sierra peaks [Re: Ken]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
perhaps a timely pointer to their usefulness:

Quote:
Mono County Sheriff's Deputies, along with team members from the Mono County Sheriff's
and Yosemite National Park Search and Rescue (SAR) Teams, responded to the Matterhorn
Peak area to search for the overdue hiker, Michael J. Ybarra, age 45, of Los Angeles, CA.
Search teams found that Mr. Ybarra had signed the summit register at Matterhorn Peak, but not
at Cleaver Peak, thus intensifying the search efforts between the two peaks.

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