Month: December 2018

RunOut #13: What’s the Future of Bear’s Ears?

In 2016, President Obama declared Bears Ears as a new national monument, protecting 1.3 million acres of land in southeast Utah. Thanks to the work of many different groups in the outdoor industry, particularly the Access Fund and Patagonia, climbing was specifically designated as a legitimate activity in this monument—home to Indian Creek and many other vertical adventures.

The climbing world hailed the declaration as a success.

Of course, within a year, popular-vote-loser Donald Trump issued one of his many legally questionable executive orders to slash the size of Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent.

“The decision to reduce Bears Ears is expected to set off a legal battle that could alter the course of American land conservation, putting dozens of other monuments at risk and possibly opening millions of preserved public acres to oil and gas extraction, mining, logging and other commercial activities,” wrote the New York Times.

Indeed, since then, a lawsuit challenging the legitimacy of Trump’s order, has been issued through the Access Fund as well as a number of other groups, many in the outdoor world. That lawsuit is currently moving forward in a Washington D.C. district court—and what’s amazing is that it’s just one of many, many projects that the Access Fund is working on on behalf of us climbers.

This is Andrew Bisharat, and you’re listening to The RunOut podcast. I’m here with my co-host Chris Kalous. And today, we invited Erik Murdock, policy director at the Access Fund, to bring us up to speed on Bears Ears, as well as all of the other projects the Access Fund is juggling. The scope of their work is just incredible. What this organization does for us behind the scenes is worth supporting, I think—in all sense of that word.

As I wrote last year in a rant on my website Evening Sends, “If you think that Bear Ears, or our oceans, or any of our National Parks are ‘forever protected,’ it’s time to think again. These are all just proclamations on pieces of paper. They mean nothing. The real power is found in our collective vigilance. This is a responsibility we can’t ignore. It’s time to get motivated and carve off a little bit of that legendary climber stoke, and dedicate ourselves to getting involved.”

Runout #12: Way of the Silent Master: A Chip Chace Eulogy

Chip Chace dedicated his life to the practice of climbing—which is to say, that he had dedicated his life to the practice of living.

Chace was no household name in the climbing world, yet his contributions to climbing—such as the first ascent of Fine Jade, inarguably one of the best and most popular 5.11 desert towers—gave him a stature of respect and admiration within the core climbing community.
Chace rarely spoke about his climbing, and yet you’d have to go really far to find a route he hadn’t done or an area he hadn’t explored. This silent passion, in which accomplishments speak for themselves, left an indelible mark among his closest friends and admirers.
On November 3, at the age of 60 years old, Chace died of pancreatic cancer following a relatively short yet extremely painful battle with the disease. He died in his meditation room in his home in the mountains outside of Boulder, Colorado, surrounded by his closest friends and his wife, Monika.

In the last weeks of his life, he wrote a letter to his friends and patients, whom he served as a practitioner of Chinese medicine. It’s a powerful letter that speaks to what an extraordinary spirit Chase embodied. Here’s an excerpt:

First and foremost, I want my death to be an act of creative transformation, that is to say, I want to die well. I’ve been training for this my entire life and I’m well prepared. I would have preferred to die in the mountains, and that is indeed what Monika and I had envisioned for me. I got this instead. Yet, here is precisely where I want to be. I cry from the raw wonder and intensity of the experience but never because I’m sad or afraid.

I’m grateful for every second I’ve lived so far and for whatever moments I have left. When I’m writhing in pain I scream thank you. When I’m puking my guts out I retch thank you…and sometimes FUCK!!!!!. I’ve been practicing more or less this way for a long time.

I think what Chace is saying here is that climbing might not just be a good way to practice living. Perhaps it might also be a way to prepare ourselves for the inevitability of death.

This is Andrew Bisharat, and I’m here with my co-host Chris Kalous. Today we have two guests: Jamie Logan and her son, Michael Logan. Jamie was a peer to Chace, a close friend and climbing partner. As a younger man, Michael considered Chace one of his most formative mentors. We invited Jamie and Michael on to do something that, ironically, might have caused Chace himself to grimace: put into words the significance of Chip Chace’s accomplishments as a climber.

Our deepest condolences go out to all those who loved and admired Chip Chace.