timfoltz wrote:...maintaining the fee increase on the most popular routes such as the west butt while keeping the current/previous fee for more difficult seldom frequented routes.
Many people attempting harder routes like the Cassin, South Face and even West Rib use the West Butt for acclimatisation, and often for descent. This makes their attempts on the hard routes, and descents from those routes, safer, thus reducing the likelihood of them
needing assistance/rescue. Deterring them from acclimatising on the West Butt may encourage such climbers to get on their hard routes with insufficient preparation, or try to descend a more dangerous way, though of course that decision is ultimately up to them and any consequences all their own doing. Foraker is just across the street.
Not that I disagree with anything FortMental has said above (though I doubt that even that
many Americans could find Louisiana), even with the increase (which I think sux), the fee is a small part of the total cost of a Denali expedition for most, because so many now do it commercially guided, thus there would be little real opposition, or reduction in numbers, from that segment of the community, apart from token outcry. The NPS looks at these people, all decked out in Eddie Buyer Last Ascent, sees they've spent thousands of dollars flying there, as preparation to spend thousands more flying somewhere even more expensive, and thinks, "WTF, these guys can afford a few hundred more" and there you go ...
Such are the consequences of the proliferation of commercial mountain guiding, and the Seven Summits tick-list mentality. Did anyone really think that there would be no consequences for the wider climbing community? The Slippery Slope may be a logical fallacy in the debating chamber or laboratory, but out in the real world it's as real and as inexorable as the endless soft snow up Heartbreak Hill. Just wait until you can't get any insurance that covers climbing unless you're going with a guide - it's already happening.