Climbers pay $4K for violations in Utah park
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Three rock climbers have paid a $4,000 settlement to Capitol Reef National Park in Utah for violating climbing policies in the making of a photograph that appeared in a Patagonia clothing catalog, a park official said Tuesday.
Park rangers discovered illegal climbing routes in the red rock park after seeing the photograph in a September 2011 Patagonia catalog, park Superintendent Leah McGinnis said.
The image depicted a first climb on a new route.
Rangers found illegal climbing bolts were embedded in rock, and other rocks had been moved to create three illegal climbing routes. Climbing is allowed in areas of the park, but climbers are not allowed to place new bolts or fixed hardware.
McGinnis said the rangers contacted Patagonia and do not believe it knew about the illegal climbing.
A freelance photographer shot the image, and the company has no relationship with the two people pictured climbing, Patagonia spokesman Adam Fetcher said.
The company is reviewing its freelance photography policies and reaching out to the photographer involved to find out what happened, he said.
“We work very hard to makes sure every photo we publish depicts responsible climbing practices that align with Patagonia’s broad environmental mission by asking vigilant questions and requiring locations always be identified,” Fetcher said in a statement.
He said the image featured in the catalog was an action shot and did not showcase gear or clothing for customers to order.
McGinnis said the settlement will be used to remove the climbing bolts and fill in the holes.
Patagonia apologized in 2006 and later stopped sponsoring a person who climbed Delicate Arch in Arches National Park in Utah.
The climber was not charged with any violation for the 2006 climb but the park tightened its policies to make it clear that climbing of named arches or natural bridges is not allowed.