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Denali climbing fees

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Denali climbing fees

Postby Arthur Digbee » Sun Mar 06, 2011 10:17 pm

Current fees of $150/climber cover 17% of the mountaineering program, so the NPS would like to raise them as high as $500.

http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/20 ... equity7730

You math geniuses will note that even $500 a head will only cover about half the program costs, making the general taxpayer responsible for the rest. Of course this is part of a general increase in NPS fees for everything in the national parks.

Mountaineering groups such as the Access Fund, AAC, and AMGA want to spread the cost among other visitors -- apparently because the tourons get a kick out of knowing that people are climbing the darned thing.

Those groups also have ideas about how to reduce costs.

I'm sure SPers have ideas too. Those of you who know the mountain should get involved on this issue.
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Re: Denali climbing fees

Postby Dow Williams » Sun Mar 06, 2011 10:42 pm

I personally think the increase is totally appropriate. If an objective is popular and crowded (from a climbing perspective), charge for access....and charge a lot. Climbing tourons are no different than hiking tourons. The more the same type folks want to see or experience the same damn thing, charge for it....that is the best possible fair method to covering costs involved with babysitting same on a large scale.
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Re: Denali climbing fees

Postby jeffn » Tue Mar 08, 2011 3:59 am

So, if the fee goes to $500, that will cover roughly half the cost. The American taxpayer covers the other half. One idea is to charge non-US taxpayers a higher rate. A much higher rate. What is lost if we lose some casual international climbing tourons? Not a lot.

Another idea is to cut down on the baby sitting. This might mean letting some more people die on Denali. If you don't want to risk death on Denali, don't go there.

The Canadians seem to have this down pretty well. The Icefields Parkway is open all year for purely recreational use. There is a user tax that is paid by the day and probably covers the cost. $20/day/car. There are very few rangers etc. seen when you are in the park. You can go anywhere and do anything and you are on your own.
I climbed the highest point in Canada and didn't pay a fee. Didn't have any options to be rescued and didn't get weather reports at 14K but the price was right. So was the view.

I hear their heath care system is expensive and over rated but the Canadians certainly know how to let one do ones thing in the outdoors.
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Re: Denali climbing fees

Postby Josh Lewis » Tue Mar 08, 2011 4:05 am

Man climbing is getting expensive. :( I suppose I understand, but this is reminding me of what happened with Aconcagua.
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Re: Denali climbing fees

Postby Dow Williams » Tue Mar 08, 2011 2:40 pm

Josh Lewis wrote:Man climbing is getting expensive. :( I suppose I understand, but this is reminding me of what happened with Aconcagua.


Which is a good thing Josh. Best advice I could give to someone like yourself, is to focus less on the name of an objective and much more on the experience. So many wilder, scenic and wicked places to climb than Aconcagua and Denali. The more you delve into the talent (technical) aspect of getting up a wall or mountain, far less folks, trash and government intrusion you will find. Cheers.
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Re: Denali climbing fees

Postby SKI » Tue Mar 08, 2011 3:32 pm

Dow Williams wrote:Which is a good thing Josh. Best advice I could give to someone like yourself, is to focus less on the name of an objective and much more on the experience. So many wilder, scenic and wicked places to climb than Aconcagua and Denali. The more you delve into the talent (technical) aspect of getting up a wall or mountain, far less folks, trash and government intrusion you will find. Cheers.


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Re: Denali climbing fees

Postby mattyj » Tue Mar 08, 2011 9:31 pm

jeffn wrote:Another idea is to cut down on the baby sitting. This might mean letting some more people die on Denali. If you don't want to risk death on Denali, don't go there.


This is the option I'd go for. I was very surprised at the the number of people who played fast and loose with safety margins, knowing they could get away with it because the NPS is always close by. I don't think it's that they were clueless idiots so much as that the NPS's presence allowed them to take greater risks. I don't see why I'm any more obliged to pay for that than any other taxpayer, just because I was on the mountain as well. One guy's partner left him at 14k without a tent or stove, and the NPS set him up. Another ascended obviously too fast and got HACE at 17k, and the NPS stepped in with oxygen overnight and an escort down the next morning. On any other peak, they wouldn't have pulled jackass stunts like that to begin with because the consequences of fscking up are so much greater.

They should also fine the crap out of people who are caught breaking the rules in order to help cover enforcement costs, rather than letting them walk with a verbal warning. I wonder how much it would cost to get a permit to climb Hunter or Foraker, and then "change your mind" once you land . . .
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Re: Denali climbing fees

Postby Brad Marshall » Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:59 am

Arthur Digbee wrote:You math geniuses will note that even $500 a head will only cover about half the program costs, making the general taxpayer responsible for the rest. Of course this is part of a general increase in NPS fees for everything in the national parks.


As far as I know people in AK aren't paying much in the way of taxes. Guess they'll have to increase the oil production taxes again. Get Sarah on it.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/l ... tax07.html
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Re: Denali climbing fees

Postby 96avs01 » Wed Mar 09, 2011 6:03 pm

mattyj wrote:Another ascended obviously too fast and got HACE at 17k


Curious as to how you know he ascended too quickly?
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Re: Denali climbing fees

Postby mattyj » Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:56 pm

96avs01 wrote:Curious as to how you know he ascended too quickly?


Shortened the story for simplicity. Obviously no one can draw a line in the sand and say "this is too fast, slow it down a day and you'll be okay" and I didn't mean to imply such a judgement, but they were moving way fast compared to the typical ascent schedule, as they only had 2 weeks off work to bang the thing out. We chatted with them a fair amount lower on the mountain and when they hit 14k on their way down (shortly after we arrived on our way up), and they weren't bumbling idiots. They clearly understood that they were taking a calculated risk, and I don't have a problem with them deciding to do so, but would they have done the same thing on a more remote peak?

The point I'm trying to make is that climbers alter their risk management based on the size of the NPS's safety net, and that cutting the number of Lama flights won't necessarily result in a significant rise in the fatality rate.
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Re: Denali climbing fees

Postby Brad Marshall » Thu Mar 10, 2011 1:53 am

mattyj wrote:The point I'm trying to make is that climbers alter their risk management based on the size of the NPS's safety net...


I can certainly see this point of view. A couple of years ago I met a strong, young climber in New Hampshire that was headed for a solo climb up Denali's WB a few days before I was to be on the mountain. I ran in to him on his descent from 14K at the 11K camp where I helped him dig out his cache. Apparently he tried to summit from the 14K camp and crapped out at the top of Denali Pass. An impressive altitude gain in a short period of time but a dangerous practice as I know he did not pre-acclimatize anywhere else before attempting it. So the question might be would he have attempted such an ascent on a less crowded mountain with little to no safety net?
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Re: Denali climbing fees

Postby AndyJB444 » Thu Mar 10, 2011 2:49 am

Raise the fees, but no more mansion-esque ranger stations.

Hate on, but Denali is a cool scene. Sure, sometimes people want some solitude on a climb, but other times you just want to climb a beautiful peak that just happens to be easily accessible and popular. I'm not going to judge someone's climbing goals.

And I think the whole "people take more risks because there is a bigger safety net" argument is kind of bogus... just look at British Columbia avalanche statistics over the past few years. By that logic there should be 0 fatalities and injuries, yeah?
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