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QR code Vandalism on Summit
#59192 08/18/21 06:07 PM
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Someone tarred a QR code geotag to the summit. If anyone is going up soon and wants to find it and take it down I would appreciate it. If not I’ll do it myself in November.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CSuKBnorW6q/?utm_medium=copy_link

Re: QR code Vandalism on Summit
MarkosStrav #59193 08/18/21 08:17 PM
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I don’t even get whats the point of that. You can just share a picture of you at the summit. Or just put it in the summit register or something.

Re: QR code Vandalism on Summit
climby_climber #59194 08/18/21 10:17 PM
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Any idea how to identify that woman in the video? I'll bet some authorities would like to find out.

What they did is really offensive.

Re: QR code Vandalism on Summit
Steve C #59195 08/19/21 04:46 AM
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Wow. That should be a lifetime ban from all national parks and federal lands. Disgraceful.

Re: QR code Vandalism on Summit
MarkosStrav #59196 08/19/21 04:51 AM
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MarkosStav: Bravo for you or anyone else who takes this down. The sooner the better. My only other hope is the person who did this gets identified and held responsible.

Re: QR code Vandalism on Summit
Steve C #59197 08/19/21 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve C
Any idea how to identify that woman in the video? I'll bet some authorities would like to find out.

What they did is really offensive.

In the IG video, it says her name is Anna Bray. The IG account is the Britt Foundation.

It didn't appear one could comment on that post so I put my thoughts into the Britt Foundations most recent IG post.

Last edited by MikeH; 08/19/21 07:26 AM.
Re: QR code Vandalism on Summit
MikeH #59198 08/19/21 07:41 AM
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I see the instagram video is taken down. I recorded it on my phone last night, in case people need to see it to locate the spot.
but I am going off-the-grid until 8/28 -- Garnet Lake here I come!

Re: QR code Vandalism on Summit
Steve C #59199 08/19/21 08:50 AM
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Maybe shoot that video over to the Forest Service so they have it. Enjoy your trip.

Re: QR code Vandalism on Summit
Steve C #59200 08/19/21 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve C
I see the instagram video is taken down. I recorded it on my phone last night, in case people need to see it to locate the spot.
but I am going off-the-grid until 8/28 -- Garnet Lake here I come!

Nicely done. I took a screen shot.

They deleted my comment...

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Re: QR code Vandalism on Summit
Steve C #59202 08/19/21 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve C
Any idea how to identify that woman in the video? I'll bet some authorities would like to find out.

What they did is really offensive.

Steve,

I have a slightly different take on this. Although leaving permanent marks on the mountain or anywhere in national parks is inappropriate, it appears that they installed the tag in memory of a friend who died in the military. So we don't really know if this particular incident reflects the lack of respect for others (and the wilderness) or it was simply an honest mistake made out of ignorance. Perhaps someone could contact the woman and explain to her that what they did was wrong before starting a massive witch hunt. Also, I would leave it up to the rangers to remove the tag, unless the offender chooses to go back and do it herself. In the grand scheme of things, plastic from abandoned poop bags and other trash does more harm in the Whitney zone.

Edit to add: Enjoy the Garnet lake trip! I will be heading to the same area in 3 weeks! Perhaps you could stash a few beers? (j/k)

Last edited by Anton; 08/19/21 11:06 AM.
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Re: QR code Vandalism on Summit
Anton #59203 08/19/21 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Anton
Originally Posted by Steve C
Any idea how to identify that woman in the video? I'll bet some authorities would like to find out.

What they did is really offensive.

Steve,

I have a slightly different take on this. Although leaving permanent marks on the mountain or anywhere in national parks is inappropriate, it appears that they installed the tag in memory of a friend who died in the military. So we don't really know if this particular incident reflects the lack of respect for others (and the wilderness) or it was simply an honest mistake made out of ignorance. Perhaps someone could contact the woman and explain to her that what they did was wrong before starting a massive witch hunt. Also, I would leave it up to the rangers to remove the tag, unless the offender chooses to go back and do it herself. In the grand scheme of things, plastic from abandoned poop bags and other trash does more harm in the Whitney zone.

Edit to add: Enjoy the Garnet lake trip! I will be heading to the same area in 3 weeks! Perhaps you could stash a few beers? (j/k)

According to their original post, they "started geocaching" and this was just the "first" one in their geocaching/ tagging plan. I posted a message on their most recent IG page and asked if they got permission to put that Geotag there. They did not reply, deleted the video and deleted my post. That tells me all I need to know about them.

[Linked Image]

Re: QR code Vandalism on Summit
MarkosStrav #59204 08/19/21 01:16 PM
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Markos: thanks for being willing to remove that tag.

Anton makes a good point though, I don't think we should be so quick to light these folks up. If they did do it for a friend in the military, that's certainly a well-meaning gesture, and I don't think this would be deserving of extreme ire of, say, that young woman who spraypainted "art" on natural surfaces in multiple National Parks. I think we can all agree that they stop plastering QR codes in natural areas and that this one should be removed (arguably, unless they produce proof that they got permission).

But as Mike H noted, the Britt Foundation quickly removing their information does suggest they did not solicit the proper permissions. Eagle Scouts completing their required improvement projects fixing trails or putting up commemorative signs/cenotaphs know to get permission from respective land agencies, these folks should have too.

Worse so, it appears to me that the tag is poorly applied and VERY unsightly though I'm not in the habit of putting pitch on a rock. Does anyone know the best/cleanest way to remove pitch from granite?


@jjoshuagregory (Twitter & Instagram) for mainly landscape and mountain photos
Re: QR code Vandalism on Summit
Snacking Bear #59206 08/19/21 03:23 PM
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Touchy subject. I am new to this forum, rarely post. Got a great deal of info from this forum that helped prepare me for a successful summit back in July.

Okay, so the group that plastered this tag to a rock on the summit lost a friend. Sorry for their loss but people lose loved ones everyday and they are not compelled to go out and commit vandalism to honor a memory.

This certainly isn't as egregious as the people that decided to go four wheeling on the playa in Death Valley a few years ago but it is born from selfishness just the same.

That rock on the summit of Whitney has been there for thousands and thousands of years same as it ever was until someone tagged it. No different in my mind than had they sprayed painted it. It did not need to happen.

The leave no trace principal exists for a reason. There are very few places left on the planet where sapiens have not left a mark. Our national parks and forests are treasures, they are suffering. They deserve our respect.

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Re: QR code Vandalism on Summit
JohnS #59207 08/19/21 03:40 PM
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Totally. It’s an extra bummer too because I’ve noticed a bit more trash in wild places in the last couple years.

Last time I was atop Whitney was fall 2018 it was at the start of this whole summit sign craze. I packed out 2-3 makeshift cardboard signs that people had discarded at the summit. Now someone made a steel sign and there’s a busted wooden sign on the top… I get it, it’s a nice photo token, but Whitney already has (or had) a distinctive placard, summit hut, and mondo register. The only case I could see for this stuff (ignoring the fact that many summits have registers) can maybe be made for remote summits (and only if you pack it back out), Whitney especially doesn’t need signs or codes.

Discarded signs are already bad enough in a place famous for abandoned poo-bags. Shellacking a QR code to the rock in any case is a bit much.


@jjoshuagregory (Twitter & Instagram) for mainly landscape and mountain photos
Re: QR code Vandalism on Summit
MikeH #59209 08/19/21 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by MikeH
That tells me all I need to know about them.

As stated above, the issue is not black and white (do you really want to be the guy who removes the tag placed in memory of a fallen soldier who lost his life fighting for the greater good ? ... assuming this is indeed the case and the offender was somewhat ignorant about the rules and ethics) but the solution is simple - tell the park rangers and they will deal with it promptly. Other than that, the discussion is becoming reminiscent of holy bolt wars - lots of emotions and little substance. If you really care about preserving the environment in the Whitney zine, I have a piece of unsolicited advice - volunteer to remove trash from the mountain. The rangers and everyone else will be grateful and the impact will be much more substantial!

Re: QR code Vandalism on Summit
MarkosStrav #59210 08/20/21 07:28 AM
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Simply put: Leave no Trace means leave no trace. I've been up Whitney now over 13 times and each year the trash problem gets worse - now this. The first time I stood on top of the summit back in 2007, there were no Mt. Whitney wood or metal signs scattered all over the summit. Unfortunately, social media has made this worse. It's all about the picture people can get on the summit so they can receive likes, sponsors, sell their products, etc. I've seen the posts. This geotag at the summit with a fallen soldier is no different. It's not about the soldier, it's about exploiting Mt. Whitney. Where does it stop? Where does the line get drawn? That is why there is a quota for Whitney. Can you imagine if there wasn't? Whitney would be a turd-hole. Sadly, Trail camp is pretty much that - a trash dump. This whole geotagging may not seem a big deal for some people, but for people like me who have been carefully treading, peakbagging, and exploring the Sierra Nevadas since a kid, it's something to be concerned about.

As for the Park Rangers getting up there and taking this geotag off the summit... wishful thinking. The Park service is extremely understaffed as of late. I've talked to a handful of NPS rangers and staff and they literally have no staffing power to get out and check permits. So, I highly doubt they will have the time to get to the summit and remove this geotag. If someone wants to remove it - by all means do so.

New hikers who are going for the summit: bring your own signs for pictures & social media, pack EVERYTHING out, including your poop, Leave zero trace, never tag the summit with anything.

I know I am most likely "preaching to the choir", but for those new hikers who are reading this remember you are not the only one hiking up to the summit. We can all do better.

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Re: QR code Vandalism on Summit
fit2climb #59213 08/20/21 01:32 PM
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JohnS and fit2climb: I am moved by your comments.


To me this is all about substance, not emotion. This is not a city park in the hood. This is a magical place. Once we acquiesce to this what is next? I have always supported the men and women in uniform, both civilian and military. But we should not go down this road. What is the next variation? The young child who lost their life to cancer, the family who lost their home to a natural disaster, a parent who lost their life to random gun violence?? Once you let that Jeannie out of the bottle you can't get her back in. I, too, have been roaming the California wilderness for over 50 years. I pick up trash wherever I go because even the sight of any trash in a wilderness setting is a bummer.

Hopefully the culprit will get a fair hearing. It likely was not a malicious act. Nonetheless, the damage has been done. I hope it is removed before my summit attempt later this fall.

Re: QR code Vandalism on Summit
foxtrot #59215 08/20/21 04:48 PM
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To all:

Evidently, every participant of this thread agrees that preserving the wilderness is incredibly important and we all should play by the rules. I can also share stories about carrying non-trivial amounts of someone else's trash from the Whitney summit for 150+ miles, on speed hikes where every ounce makes a difference. To elaborate my reasons for having a slightly different opinion on the OP, I'd like to ask you a few questions.

Do you practice the LNT principles because you truly love the nature or because you do not want to get caught and punished? I certainly hope it is the former, but the begging of this thread is largely focused on punishment and labels. Check the definition of vandalism. Although the lady's actions were clearly not OK, does she deserve to be labeled as a vandal and permanently banned from national parks if her intentions were sincere and she simply did not know better? Perhaps you could also think how such a label could impact her career.

Do you know how to appropriately remove paint and glue from granite? I can tell you from personal experience from a massive organized cleanup of a climbing area - it is not an easy task which requires special equipment and tools. So unless you know what to do, leaving this task to the rangers may be a better option.

After all, Mt. Whitney has not been ruined, the tag will be gone soon one way or another, and the fumes will die down. I just wonder if the energy of this discussion could better channeled towards solving the problems that are more substantial and persistent. How about adding a resource to this website that will educate the new hikers and climbers and will encourage them to spread the knowledge, since the NPS guidelines are still not being heard by everyone? How about reaching out to park rangers with the idea of starting an initiative for regular cleanups of the Whitney zone by volunteers? There are many inspiring examples, and I would be thrilled to join.

Anton

Re: QR code Vandalism on Summit
Anton #59216 08/21/21 06:15 AM
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Hi Anton, I seriously doubt this person will get a lifetime ban. And, of course that would be severe if this is a one time misguided act. Unlikely anyone's career will be tarnished over this.

However, if she plans on making a career of going live on location and tagging (defacing = vandalism) natural wonders, then yeah best to keep her out the parks.

And you are correct, Whitney is not ruined. But this sort of behavior inspires others to do likewise and one up each other.

I hiked Whitney for the first time this summer, it blew me away. Been going to Yosemite since 1990, you been there lately? We certainly don't want that for Whitney.

Thank you for packing out others trash and the work you do on cleaning up climbing areas.

And yeah the word needs to get out, leave no trace = carry your own weight in my opinion. You or anyone else should not be in a position to pack out trash and clean up messes carelessly left by others.

Re: QR code Vandalism on Summit
JohnS #59217 08/21/21 11:06 AM
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John,

The two main factors that define the amount of trash and overall damage in the wilderness are traffic and the attitude of visitors. If you climb elsewhere in the High Sierra, you may realize that Mt. Whitney actually falls in between Yosemite and other, more remote, peaks because the folks visiting those peaks are fewer and generally more responsible than average tourists. When I first hiked the entire JMT, I was impressed how relatively clean the trail was (except for the Valley part, which I also try to avoid), despite all the traffic. Again, the reason is simple: there are not many tourists. Considering that NPS is unable to enforce the LNT rules effectively due to limited staff and the need to focus on immediate problems (fires, rescues, restoring trails after winter damage) and that the extent of traffic in the Whitney zone is unlikely to change in the near future, the two complimentary solutions are better education and community efforts to clean up. I personally view the latter as a small payback to the nature, not a heroic effort to brag about. Again, I hope you understand that I am not tying to advocate the offender in this particular case of suggest that removing the tag is not necessary. I simply feel that the issue is being overdramatized and that it needs to handled by professionals. I also firmly believe that plastic scattered in the area is a much bigger problem.

Best
Anton

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