/ "The Asgard Apology"

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I was just reading the back pages of last month's Climb magazine when I noticed what looked like a small ad, but is actually an apology. It appears that Leo Houlding, Sean Leary and Carlos Quiroga Suarez were all charged for illegally BASE jumping within Auyuittuq National Park (where Asgard is) in 2009 and warrants issued for their arrest in Canada. Charges were only dropped after they agreed to give a thousand bucks each to an environmental charity and publish the apology in magazines.

http://www.nunatsiaqonline.ca/stories/article/65674mt._asgard_base_jumpers_to_apologize_pay_a_fine/
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/story/2012/10/03/north-asgard-project-charges.html

The apology itself in Climb is a bit lame, it doesn't even say who is apologizing, only mentioning the "the Asgard Project". Perhaps other people involved in the trip are also taking 'corporate responsibility' for the events, rather than just letting the three jumpers take the rap alone? Unsurprisingly perhaps, none of the companies who sponsored the trip put their name to the apology! The text does though say that the expedition knew it was illegal to base jump but did it anyway.

A couple of people seem to have tweeted about it, but I couldn't find any mention of it on British outdoor websites and the like. It's a bit odd that one of the UK's leading adventure climbers and star of a number of widely applauded climbing films having an arrest warrant out for him for doing something illegal as part of a climbing expedition didn't make the news?! It's not like they were selling guns to child soldiers or something but, nevertheless, knowingly breaking the laws of a national park doesn't seem a brilliant idea in terms of maintaining access for other climbers still to visit.
needvert on 26 Nov 2012
I must admit to never really understanding the rationale behind banning base jumping.

In my sometimes cynical view of the world, I've always assumed it was because there wasn't any.
Denni on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to TobyA:

Hi Toby,
I also saw this. A half hearted attempt to say sorry which will no doubt be dumbed down and not receive the sort of "UKC" reaction something like this would normally get if one of the forum punters did it.

It's of course all about money. It wouldn't be spectacular getting to the top and then abbing off so instead, break the rules to satisfy your own agenda and ego.

Why on earth would someone who is clearly a nice all round chap go and do something illegal like this threatening access for other people? Stupidity at the highest professional level.
Monk - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to Denni:
> (In reply to TobyA)
>

>
> Why on earth would someone who is clearly a nice all round chap go and do something illegal like this threatening access for other people? Stupidity at the highest professional level.

Maybe they thought no-one would find out...
crossdressingrodney - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to TobyA:

Why is it illegal in this national park?
Bruce Hooker - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to Monk:
> (In reply to Denni)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> Maybe they thought no-one would find out...

It wouldn't have been much use to the sponsors then, would it? :-)

Rollo - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to TobyA:

I fail to see how base jumping can be worse than pushing 400kgs of equipment out of a plane and seeing it plummet to the ground with nalfunctioning parachutes
simondgee - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to Monk:
...if you are only there because it is a Berghaus and Nokia film that you going to show world wide and enter at Banff (and somewhat ironically win with)...You know you will be caught...

simondgee - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to TobyA:
A thousand dollars is an easy take ...I am surprised if that is the only repercushion...have they also been declared persona non grata in Canada?
I'm guessing your comment is really does parochial outdoor climbing journalism know which side its bread is buttered? Advertising revenues. I don't think there is anything special about this story being under reported ...I cant think of any probing thesis based editorial in the climbing press they are magazines not newspapers.
Stone Idol - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to TobyA: I guess it would be simpler to ban everything and then fine the folk who do stuff - save on tax inspectors. Given that Canadians drive on frozen rivers you have to wonder which slack-jawed bureaucrat thought this one up. Was an 'elf involved?
In reply to TobyA:
> It's a bit odd that one of the UK's leading adventure climbers and star of a number of widely applauded climbing films having an arrest warrant out for him for doing something illegal as part of a climbing expedition didn't make the news?!

I suspect it was kept quiet. This is the first I have heard about it.

Alan
Jim Lancs - on 26 Nov 2012
It's illegal to base jump in Yosemite as well, but there's plenty of films about people (including Holding) doing it.

There's some people who claim that sailing singlehanded, such as in the current Vendee round the world race, is technically illegal as it transgresses the requirements to keep a proper lookout. But we still give knighthoods to those who do it and live.

Perhaps somethings are worth doing despite being made illegal by those who think otherwise.
simondgee - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to Stone Idol:
'KTM's French motocross teams fantastic film of riding the spine of upland England along the Pennine way national footpath' Would that resonate at the same frequency?
neuromancer - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to Denni:

>break the rules to satisfy your own agenda and ego.

Why on earth would someone who is clearly a nice all round chap go and do something illegal like this threatening access for other people? Stupidity at the highest professional level.

Because the law banning it is a priori immmoral and deserves to be flaunted?

"No you can't have basic entirely non-destructive access to enjoy land that should be free to be used, because we said so and that makes you naughty".

Talk about catholic shame.
Denni on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to neuromancer:
> (In reply to
>
> Because the law banning it is a priori immmoral and deserves to be flaunted?
>


Great attitude you have there. Bugger everyone else and do what you want?
davidbeynon - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to Denni:


> Great attitude you have there. Bugger everyone else and do what you want?

It's the climbers way, but you missed the bit about coming back later and moaning about how nobody likes you.
crossdressingrodney - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to Denni:

Would we even have national parks in this country if we all shared your attitude? Doesn't sound like you'd have been a fan of the Kinder trespass.
Sir Chasm - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to simondgee: Flying motorbikes that are virtually silent and cause no erosion? I think we could live with that.
MeMeMe - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to simondgee:

People para-gliding off Stanage doesn't seem to cause much of a problem.

Does anyone know the reason for the ban?
winhill - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to MeMeMe:
> (In reply to simondgee)
>
> People para-gliding off Stanage doesn't seem to cause much of a problem.

I was surprised when I first saw them years ago as Stanage was previously always the subject of a ban, from NPA, I think.

Kemics - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to Denni:
> (In reply to neuromancer)
> [...]
>
>
> Great attitude you have there. Bugger everyone else and do what you want?

"It is not always the same thing to be a good man and a good citizen." ...i'd put this in the category of illegal but not wrong. If you could explain how base jumping affects anyone but the base jumper? I'm sure in the long run the granite always wins.

I don't have a problem with this. I would prefer to see the headline if any of:

"super rad everyman dude Leo holding gives finger to bureaucracy. Earth is still spinning, life is for living and you will never be as cool as Leo Holding. Ever."

p.s If a picture is need for the headline I would suggest photoshopping a picture of holding high fiving Thoreau

Michael Ryan - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to MeMeMe:
> (In reply to simondgee)

> Does anyone know the reason for the ban?

This may give you a clue why some land management agencies ban BASE

Pair sentenced for jump at Grand Canyon
Thursday, July 16, 2009


Two California men were federally sentenced to pay fines and satisfy other requirements in connection with a parachute jumping incident at Grand Canyon National Park.

According to information from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Phoenix, Christopher C. McNamara, 30, of Marin County, Calif., pleaded guilty to illegally jumping in the Canyon while on a November 2007 river trip. The practice is known as BASE jumping, which stands for jumping from fixed objects such as buildings, antennas, spans or earth with a parachute.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark E. Aspey ordered McNamara to pay a $5,000 fine to be dedicated to protection resource monitoring in the Canyon. McNamara must also serve one year of probation and may only enter Yosemite National Park because of the civic work he does there.

Jonathon Rich, 33, of South Lake Tahoe, Calif., pleaded guilty to violating the terms and conditions of his commercial filming river permit because he failed to report McNamara's BASE jump.

He must pay $1,000 in fines to be used for the Canyon's resource protection program. If he uses his work to promote Leave No Trace education and denounce illegal BASE jumping, the charge against him will be dropped.

Rich and McNamara had been on a river rafting trip to film a documentary about river rafting and rock climbing. Rich did not film the BASE jump.

In a prepared statement, Park Superintendent Steve Martin said, "BASE jumping is inherently dangerous; but that's only part of why it's prohibited in the park. BASE jumping here, where the terrain is so intensely rugged and the nearest help can be hours away, increases the inherent risks exponentially, and it puts park rescue personnel resources at risk."

Skyfall - on 26 Nov 2012
I found the whole film rather self indulgent and, for me, neither the participants nor the film maker came out of it very well. I'm not saying they 100% deserved this follow up action but let's say I'm not surprised about this.

Incidentally, we seem to be assuming they did know they were breaking the law as the OP refers to them 'knowingly' breaking the law but I can't find a specific reference to it elswehere and haven't seen the text of the apology. In any event, you would have thought they should have sought some clearamce from the NP authorities for this sort of stunt.

I know that sounds a bit harsh but I did find that particular film to represent something which I found at odds with my own feelings about why and how we seek adventure in the outdoors.
Denni on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to crossdressingrodney:
> (In reply to Denni)
>
> Would we even have national parks in this country if we all shared your attitude? Doesn't sound like you'd have been a fan of the Kinder trespass.


What attitude exactly? Someone does something illegal that could have wider implications for the climbing community and you think that is ok?

JonC,
you are correct, I as well as others are assuming that they knew what they were doing and if they didn't, then maybe they should have done some better expedition planning.
In reply to JonC:

> Incidentally, we seem to be assuming they did know they were breaking the law as the OP refers to them 'knowingly' breaking the law but I can't find a specific reference to it elswehere and haven't seen the text of the apology.

Best I could do at short notice: https://twitter.com/TobyinHelsinki/status/273018589156618240/photo/1
MeMeMe - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKC and UKH:

> In a prepared statement, Park Superintendent Steve Martin said, "BASE jumping is inherently dangerous; but that's only part of why it's prohibited in the park. BASE jumping here, where the terrain is so intensely rugged and the nearest help can be hours away, increases the inherent risks exponentially, and it puts park rescue personnel resources at risk."

The same things are true for climbing also but they don't ban that (or do they?).

Did they have a load of base jumping accidents or something?
Michael Ryan - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to MeMeMe:

That is a good argument: if you ban BASE why not soloing!!!!!!
In reply to Denni: For what's it worth, I certain that money wasn't the real drive behind any of this. Perhaps Leo Houlding is one of the few British climbers who makes an OK living doing what he does, but I bet none of them are exactly rolling in it. I'm sure their drive to go on an adventures is just the same as mine or yours just amplified somewhat, and I totally respect that.

They say they knew base jumping was banned so just didn't tell Parks Canada that they were going to do that, despite getting necessary permits for all the other stuff they were doing. That does seem, at best, a really bad decision and at worst a pretty low thing to do, considering there was a film crew involved so it was hardly going to be kept secret. If they had kept it secret then it's one of those "if a tree falls in the woods does it make a sound?" sort of things. But put it in movie and tour it round the mountain film circuit? You have to know that at the very least you are risking access to all sorts of adventurers coming after you.
winhill - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to JonC:
>
> Incidentally, we seem to be assuming they did know they were breaking the law as the OP refers to them 'knowingly' breaking the law but I can't find a specific reference to it elswehere and haven't seen the text of the apology. In any event, you would have thought they should have sought some clearamce from the NP authorities for this sort of stunt.

Perhaps it's possible that they could have sought commercial clearance but that might have been at such a cost that it would make filming impossible. OK for a hollywood blockbuster but not independents.

Unfortunately they probably would have known about the ban because even flying light aircraft is restricted and the pilot of the plane they jumped from would have known of airspace restrictions.

There's another story in the links Toby provided about 2 aussies getting done for paragliding off Mount Thor. (Mount Asgard was first BASEd in 1977 for The Spy Who Loved Me! it says).

The restrictions on Paragliding and Hang gliding look like they are due to be lifted soon, so perhaps the HPAC would take a dim view of any activity that would jeopardise that. BASE would still be illegal. The requirement is for HPAC members only and therefore covered by insurance, so the cost of recovering bodies is met.

If the law is a bit meh, then the punishment for breaking it might be a bit similar to a parking fine, although with BASE the accident rate is high and I'm not sure your accident insurance would cover the cost of recovery so the potential cost liability for the state is increased.
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKC and UKH: If you read the apology, I think they are saying that they DID KNOW base was banned because there were no rescue services available but they DID NOT KNOW it was also in part banned because the local Inuit don't like it.

If anyone has time to get on google, it would be interesting to know why the Inuit don't want people BASE jumping. I guess it could be utterly practical like they know they're the only people around who could help out in the case of an accident, or maybe it has some link to their spiritual or traditional beliefs.
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Denni on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to TobyA:

You're right in what yoi say and maybe I did go "off the deep end" with a small rant but my opinion is still the same.

If they knew about it then that is was a bad decision and doesn't say much about integrity in my eyes and if that is the case then surely Berghaus must also have known?
winhill - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKC and UKH:
> (In reply to MeMeMe)
>
> That is a good argument: if you ban BASE why not soloing!!!!!!

Yes, let's persuade them to ban everything.

Like Winston said, Do It To Her.
Skyfall - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to TobyA:

Thanks - pretty clear there.
Dave Garnett - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKC and UKH:

> In a prepared statement, Park Superintendent Steve Martin said, "BASE jumping is inherently dangerous; but that's only part of why it's prohibited in the park. BASE jumping here, where the terrain is so intensely rugged and the nearest help can be hours away, increases the inherent risks exponentially, and it puts park rescue personnel resources at risk."

I'm slightly confused by the Leave No Trace reference. Is this really about excluding access to sensitive wilderness areas - in which case why not just do that?

On the other hand, if the issue really is the difficulty of rescue in remote areas, then that's a bit worrying isn't it? Are Canadians only allowed to do dangerous things in convenient roadside locations?

IainRUK - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to Dave Garnett: If the local inuit are anything like the Maori's it just means they weren't paid enough...

Same with the NP.. we did an advert with Audi and used a car park for 2 minutes, free advertising for the park.. still wanted 200 or so just to turn on a camera.. so we did most of our filming outside the park...

In reply to Dave Garnett:

> On the other hand, if the issue really is the difficulty of rescue in remote areas, then that's a bit worrying isn't it? Are Canadians only allowed to do dangerous things in convenient roadside locations?

You saw that Mick's article is about an incident in the US 5 years ago don't you? I've no idea if the Canadian law on Baffin has any similarities.
Dave Garnett - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to TobyA:

Sorry, confusing to quote that, but the same issue is mentioned in the Asgard apology.

It's always a worry when authorities start hinting that we shouldn't go to certain places or take part in certain activities because it's inherently dangerous and we are selfishly forcing others to risk their safety to rescue us. It's a worry because, seen from an increasingly common paternalistic (or economic) risk-averse attitude, it seems a reasonable point of view.

Blue Straggler - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to JonC:
> I found the whole film rather self indulgent and, for me, neither the participants nor the film maker came out of it very well.

I agree. The film maker occasionally contributes to these forums, it would be interesting to hear his views about the fines and whether all the right people knew about the ban...
tom_in_edinburgh - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKC and UKH:
> (In reply to MeMeMe)
> BASE jumping here, where the terrain is so intensely rugged and the nearest help can be hours away, increases the inherent risks exponentially

The park manager has now been sentenced to a $2,000 fine by the National Science Council. The sentence will be dropped provided he undertakes 200 hours of training in high school maths and publishes an article on the park website explaining why this is linear rather than exponential growth.

Just Another Dave - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKC and UKH:
> (In reply to MeMeMe)

> This may give you a clue why some land management agencies ban BASE
>
> Pair sentenced for jump at Grand Canyon
> Thursday, July 16, 2009

Blah, blah, the only clue is here:
>
> ... the terrain is so intensely rugged and the nearest help can be hours away, increases the inherent risks exponentially, and it puts park rescue personnel resources at risk."

Which is true of all adventure sports and activities, by definition. No risk, no adventure.
Alex@home - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKC and UKH:
> (In reply to MeMeMe)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
>
> He must pay $1,000 in fines to be used for the Canyon's resource protection program. If he uses his work to promote Leave No Trace education and denounce illegal BASE jumping, the charge against him will be dropped.
>

this does sound a bit like "denounce your beliefs and espouse ours and absolution will be yours"
is that a healthy legal system?

In reply to Dave Garnett: From the Asgard Apology it struck me that they felt going against the Inuits wishes was worse than the cost of rescue thing.
nw - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to IainRUK:
> (In reply to Dave Garnett) If the local inuit are anything like the Maori's it just means they weren't paid enough...
>
>

Nice bit of casual racism there. All these dark skinned indigenous types are kind of hard to tell apart aren't they?
nw - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to IainRUK:
>.
>
> Same with the NP.. we did an advert with Audi and used a car park for 2 minutes, free advertising for the park.. still wanted 200 or so just to turn on a camera.. so we did most of our filming outside the park...

Poor old Audi, that's disgusting. Did they survive?

IainRUK - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to nw: Brilliant post... its about local tribes having a say over the environment... often acting in a hypocritical way.. and if you read it is the local inuit which were involved...

So I've seen similar in NZ... you saw the race issue not me... think you may be a closet racialist..
IainRUK - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to nw: Your English isn't very good is it? With.. not for..
crossdressingrodney - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to Denni:

> What attitude exactly?

Neuromancer says he thinks that the ban is immoral and should be flouted, the same reasoning as the Kinder trespass. You disagree.

> Someone does something illegal that could have wider implications for the climbing community and you think that is ok?

Do I think it's OK? I don't know. The same arguments the park gave can be applied to climbing. Would you support a climbing ban? Would you support climbers who flouted the ban if it threatened access to walkers? I might hope they would get support from walking groups. Perhaps we climbers should support BASE jumpers?

The only decent argument against BASE-jumping so far is that it might be against the wishes of the locals.
IainRUK - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to crossdressingrodney: Not sure its like Kinder..

A point of a mass tresspass was to demonstrate the futility of the law wasn't it? Whereas the AP was just a few filming themselves...

Anyway I liked it, aye it was all xtreem.. a bit of an artificial challenge with the base jump finish, largely for the filming etc, but great filming and enjoyable.
nw - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to IainRUK:
> (In reply to nw) Your English isn't very good is it? With.. not for..

I think the fault lies with your poor communication skills Iain. I have no idea what you are talking about. Did you mean 'with AN' Audi? Full snide points though.

Re the racism, yes I think it whiffs of stereotypical thinking to equate two groups of people who live at the far ends of the world from each other simply because they are 'indigenous'(not strictly true in the Maori case), and to think that they must share the same motivations. It seems kind of arrogant to think that you can figure out the inner workings of the Inuit mind because what, you have been to New Zealand?

IainRUK - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to nw: Does it..

also... did you notice the word 'if'... kind of a crucial point..

The Maori are probably as indigenous as any high latitude inuit group.. think about it sherlock...

nw - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to IainRUK:

The point about the Maori being or not being indigenous was entirely incidental. Now you are trying to backtrack highlighting your use of the word 'if'. Why would you say it at all, if you hadn't thought it?
All outrageous statements are OK as long as we preface them with 'IF'?
IainRUK - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to nw: Eh? How am I back tracking?

I said 'if'..

Its hardly back tracking its pointing to what I ruddy well said you muppet.

Yes it was a truly outlandish outrageous statement.. horrific.

It just seems a storm in a tea cup, a minor add, hardly known about and fairly much a non issue.
winhill - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to Dave Garnett) From the Asgard Apology it struck me that they felt going against the Inuits wishes was worse than the cost of rescue thing.

Wiki says that Baffin Island is popular with Base Jumpers [citation needed] but if you google baffin base jump you get tons of hits, lots predate the AP.

So it looks like loads of people will have thought about it before, and either done it and kept quiet or not entered the National Park to jump.

So it doesn't look like rescue would be the main issue.
crossdressingrodney - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to IainRUK:
> (In reply to crossdressingrodney) Not sure its like Kinder..
>
> A point of a mass tresspass was to demonstrate the futility of the law wasn't it?

That was the political point I think, yes. But wasn't the principle about land access?

> Whereas the AP was just a few filming themselves...

I'm not claiming that these film-makers had anything of this sort in mind; I was just responding to neuromancer's thoughts about land access.
Stone Muppet - on 26 Nov 2012
It seems kind of arrogant to me to imply that all the Inuit think the same thing about base jumping. As if they were some kind of hive mind rather than... like... people?
In reply to Stone Muppet:
> It seems kind of arrogant to me to imply that all the Inuit think the same thing about base jumping.

Well that just comes from what was said in the apology. I don't think there is any suggestion of it being all inuit people across the North, just the ones who appear to be stakeholders with Parks Canada in the national park that includes Asgard.
In reply to winhill: I have no idea but perhaps there are many bits of Baffin that aren't classified as national park? Hence different regulations maybe.
In reply to all:

Did anybody else notice this story slightly ironically appearing here on UKC on the same day? http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?n=528752

It would appear that at least some of the sponsors don't seem too upset by the Asgard situation as they are backing a similar sounding trip with much the same team to Antarctica.
Skyfall - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to TobyA:

Yep, just seen that and thought the same. I was going to post something on that thread linking to this one but decided it would have probably just been deleted by the mods.
simondgee - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to JonC:
Likewise...A more measured investigative piece would certainly be interesting. All this Inuit versus rescue costs versus right to roam is neither here nor there. If you turn up in a foreign country where you are on a holiday visa know you are going to break their laws (no matter how relevant you think it is) and film your acts and commercially market it all don't be surprised to get rapped...the morally questionable parts are corporate responsibility ...Berghaus, Nokia and Al Lee were there for commercially driven reasons placing at risk future rights of access. Did anybody consider asking for permission? Or was it 'well they wont give us it so lets do it anyway'? Genuinely interested.
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Franco Cookson on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to simondgee:
> (In reply to JonC)
> Likewise...A more measured investigative piece would certainly be interesting. All this Inuit versus rescue costs versus right to roam is neither here nor there. If you turn up in a foreign country where you are on a holiday visa know you are going to break their laws (no matter how relevant you think it is) and film your acts and commercially market it all don't be surprised to get rapped...


I think the point is that they should have rapped, rather than base jump.

Dauphin - on 26 Nov 2012
In reply to TobyA:

Think Jasan Pickles sez as much in 'Autuna' what we are doing is illegal - they don't have permits.

D
Morgan Woods - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKC and UKH)
> [...]
>
> The park manager has now been sentenced to a $2,000 fine by the National Science Council. The sentence will be dropped provided he undertakes 200 hours of training in high school maths and publishes an article on the park website explaining why this is linear rather than exponential growth.

Where's the "like" button when you need it :p
Jon Read - on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
<pedant>
Well, I think you may need a lesson too. I can easily see some definitions of risk increasing in a non-linear way with distance.
</pedent>
alasdair19 on 27 Nov 2012
In reply to Dave Garnett: If the local inuit are anything like the Maori's it just means they weren't paid enough...


In reply to IainRUK:

YOU do realise that comment about people who live there was gratuitously offensive don't you.

ironically many first nations tribes in canada are absolutly loaded due to oil and mineral rights so they can afford to have ethics isn't that nice.
ice.solo - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to TobyA:

just think of it a retro-event permit of $1000 national park fee to climb an arctic big wall, leap off the top and hang out in fancy custom designed gear and gain a bit of renegade notoriety...?

id pay that in a second.

i bet the phrase 'better to beg forgiveness than grovel for permission' was uttered a lot in the planning.
IainRUK - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to alasdair19: Well it wasn't nice.. nice you use of capitals..

My experience with the Maori tribes was pretty consistent, they needed paying, they wanted to ensure any money being made lined their pockets regardless of intellectual property or work being done..

In fact North Wales is very similar in that regard, there is a fear about English/outsiders coming in making money.. I was at a high level meeting regarding a major event and a local Councillor actually said those exact words.. I was gobsmacked he'd be so open about that view.. we all knew it existed but to come out and say it was a bit silly..

Your last sentence is horrifically laid out..

Anyway, how is banning base jumping an ethical concern? The environmental impact is minimal, far less than climbing; but to be honest the only impact will largely be constrained to flying them in and out anyway..

IainRUK - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to ice.solo:
> (In reply to TobyA)
>
>
> i bet the phrase 'better to beg forgiveness than grovel for permission' was uttered a lot in the planning.

Its also hardly anything new is it.. climbers deliberately breaking the law to get some route/event done..

Years ago I was chatting to a relative of an ex who was good friends with eric jones, about doing some of his early base jumps with him, working out police response times, where to jump etc. I think it was from Nebo mast.. they were all well into their 50's if not 60's.. aye it was illegal, but they weren't harming anyone. Its just hardly a big deal.
jonnie3430 - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to JonC:
> I found the whole film rather self indulgent

My ironometer is twitching here, have you never thought of climbing as a selfish activity? It is, there is an easier way around the back, but you do it anyway.
Gazlynn - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to IainRUK:

I really don't think you should single out Maori or Welsh people out as you have. The issues you have highlighted is a global issue that affects all nations. Look at how emotively English people talk about immigration laws and so on in the past couple of years.

Unfortunately due to the current recession these issues get highlighted even more and yes we can personalize things but it's my belief that this affects every nation in the world. It's how we deal with these issues that will make a difference.



cheers

Gaz

IainRUK - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to Gazlynn: I sort of agree.. but with those two groups I mentioned there is a history of exploitation so a more tangible fear.. Treaty of Waitangi.. have a read and you can understand their want to get money back.. yet I think it will bankrupt NZ if they aren't careful.

I think that is different to small mindedness..

At times you have to remember that with things like the Welsh language issue.. at times its quite incredulous how het up it can get (signs from kids races stolen as they were in english only), but people are alive today who experienced english suppressing their language..

I find the english anti-immigration as horrific as the english don't steal my fish view... we've been plundering everyone elses ocean, living in other peoples country since day dot...

In addition I also think small mindedness can be more apparent in smaller areas.
nw - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to IainRUK:
You come across as a very unpleasant man. Backtracking in that you are now hedging your view by emphasising the 'if', muppet.
nw - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to IainRUK:
> (In reply to alasdair19) Well it wasn't nice.. nice you use of capitals..
>
You write this, and then criticise people for their sentence construction? Megalolz.
IainRUK - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to nw: Ah well if an anonymous person doesn't like me.. that's a life changing moment...

Anyway worth watching the film.. cheers
nw - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to IainRUK:
> (In reply to nw) Ah well if an anonymous person doesn't like me.. that's a life changing moment...
>
> Anyway worth watching the film.. cheers

I didn't say that. I've never met you, so have no idea how likeable you are in person. Just a comment on the way that you seem to have to slip in a gibe ('muppet', 'your english isn't very good is it' , 'your last sentence is laid out horrifically' etc etc) any time somebody takes issue with the ideas you express, and how that comes across.

And of course you must know that if you pick people up on their writing, you are fair game for the same, so I was practically obliged to have a good laugh about that.

Anyway, I agree we both must have better things to do so, cheers.
ice.solo - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to IainRUK:
> (In reply to ice.solo)
> [...]
>
> Its also hardly anything new is it.. climbers deliberately breaking the law to get some route/event done..
>
complete agreement. indeed hoodwinking permit systems is a part of our fine sports tradition and good to see still alive. no doubt going on in other places too, just the people doing it are not exposing it on film.


henwardian - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to TobyA: You should not attempt to live your life according to rules and laws, even though you may have to accept the consequences if you transgress them.
An action or choice can be judged on the motive of the person doing it, or the likely consequences of it being done but to blindly say "it's illegal so it's wrong" is to be quite thick.

A law against base jumping from Mount Asgard seems clearly unjustified (unless anyone would like to jutify it to me?) so I would see no reason to respect that law.
Just think what would happen if we never broke or challenged laws that were corrupt, unjust or plain barmy? I'd rather not live in a world where being an athiest is a hanging offense, sleeping with someone is a stoning offense and living alone with cats is a burning-to-death offense thank you very much.
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to henwardian:

Without wishing to be drawn on the rights or wrongs of this case, that is one of the finest collections of straw men I've seen gathered together in one post for many a day!
TheDrunkenBakers - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:
> (In reply to henwardian)
>
> Without wishing to be drawn on the rights or wrongs of this case, that is one of the finest collections of straw men I've seen gathered together in one post for many a day!

NMSE, I read the whole thread and didnt feel compelled to chip in until I found myself in complete agreement with you.

Those who feel that flouting the law is OK because they dont agree with it need to get a grip. Break the law, suffer the consequences, and stop carping when you get caught.

If they disagree then they should use the proper channels to try and get the law changed. Lets look at motorway speeds. The speed limit was set decades ago when cars were much heavier and seldom had advaced ABS, disc based systems. Some would argue that the speed limit should be increased due to this fact being remedied with modern cars (the counter argument is that there is far more traffic on the roads so 70 is about right). Personally, I think it should be increased and I would say that my cruising speed is around 75 to 85 on average. I also know and accept that if I get caught breaking the speed limit, I have broken the law whether I like it nor not and I should receive my 60 and 3 points with shameful grace.

In this case the sponsors and the criminals displayed outrageous arrogance and ignorance and should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law in the same vein that climbers an boulders who trespass should too.


Skyfall - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

> Those who feel that flouting the law is OK because they dont agree with it need to get a grip. Break the law, suffer the consequences, and stop carping when you get caught.

It's ok, the law doesn't apply to them because they're climbers and therefore special.
remus - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to JonC: I tihnk the sticking point here is that people want to know why the law is in place. I suspect that if there is a good reaosn behind it people will be a lot more accepting.

As it stands all we've got is a very broad 'It offends the innuit' and 'it puts rescue personel at risk', the second of which is quite clearly a crock of shit given that they've been given a permit to climb the thing.
paul mitchell - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to TobyA:

The more risk taking activities are made illegal,the more the 'law'will be broken when risk takers do what comes naturally.

The more we obey those laws,the more of them there will be and the more of them will be enforced.The more we will be oppressed.

So access for people taking lesser risks may be cut.The world is a big place.
We need to support risk takers and try to find some compromise with the legislators,rather than just accept blanket bans.

Mitch
In reply to remus:

> As it stands all we've got is a very broad 'It offends the innuit'

Do you know this? I wrote above that from the apology itself and the news articles I linked, that I don't understand why the local Inuit are against it. It may be some practical reason - but have you read otherwise?

> and 'it puts rescue personel at risk', the second of which is quite clearly a crock of shit given that they've been given a permit to climb the thing.

Again, where do you get this from? The apology says they knew it was banned because of a "lack of resources" for rescues. That's not the same as saying it puts rescue personnel at risk. Do we even know that there are rescue personnel to be put at risk?

In reply to paul mitchell:

> We need to support risk takers and try to find some compromise with the legislators,rather than just accept blanket bans.

What blanket ban? It appears they had permission to go climbing there (as have many other expeditions to Baffin down the years). It's only BASE that is banned - presumably for some specific reason beyond some Parks Canada bureaucrat having something against base jumpers but not climbers.

Your argument seems rather "blanket". Should we break bird bans on UK cliffs because they are "unjust" laws? It would seem that not respecting rules, particularly perfectly reasonable ones, is a good way to getting things banned.

simondgee - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to remus:
Its not that difficult is it?...you go to another country you knowingly break their law(s)...publicise and glorify that in film...pay the price (or risk paying the price). Changing that legislation is a downstream option not a 'its not fair' option. If the legislation seems wrong and we feel that strongly about it I'm sure we will all pay 8 to watch a documentary premiere about it at Kendal next year.


GrahamD - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to paul mitchell:


> We need to support risk takers and try to find some compromise with the legislators,rather than just accept blanket bans.


Does that logic extend to fracking for oil, or building chemical plants near population centres ?

This episode has got absolutely bugger all about freedoms and rights and all to do with commercialisation of the countryside.
In reply to GrahamD:

> This episode has got absolutely bugger all about freedoms and rights and all to do with commercialisation of the countryside.

Do you mean the "Asgard Project" with attendant film maker and sponsors is "commercialisation of the countryside"? I guess it is to some degree although I don't think I can find any major problems with it (I'm sure they removed all their rubbish etc.) and its hardly on a scale with fracking, let alone the Canadian environmental issue of the moment - tar sands exploitation/climate change policy.
remus - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to TobyA: No, I don't know why it may have offended them. Im just going off the information in this thread.

I think the 'putting rescue personnel at risk' is a mistake on my part, it was from Mick Ryan's post early in the thread but relates to BASE jumping in US national parks, not Canadian national parks/generally remote regions.

I think the broad point is the same though. Banning BASE jumping because of a 'lack of resources' to mount a rescue while at the same time exlicitly permitting climbing strikes me as somewhat contradictory.
GrahamD - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to TobyA:

The comment about fracking is that there are often good reasons for trying to restrict freedoms - just ignoring it because it doesn't suit you is not a noble gesture for the rights of freedom.

The second point : yes its definately about the commercialisation of the country. OK you can argue that one basejumper makes very little difference, but if eg Red Bull see this as a great marketing stunt the skies of Baffin Island will be awash with film crews and garish parachutes to the detriment of anyone who actually went there for a wilderness experience.
In reply to remus:
> Banning BASE jumping because of a 'lack of resources' to mount a rescue while at the same time exlicitly permitting climbing strikes me as somewhat contradictory.

It does seem contradictory but I presume someone has made a risk assessment (how well justified we don't know) that the increased risks of base jumping over climbing put it beyond some acceptable risk level?

I'm sure someone can correct me but is the same rule in place on the Troll Wall in Norway; i.e. BASE banned but climbing allowed? And the Troll Wall seems risky enough for climbing!

ads.ukclimbing.com
Frank4short - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to GrahamD:

> The second point : yes its definately about the commercialisation of the country. OK you can argue that one basejumper makes very little difference, but if eg Red Bull see this as a great marketing stunt the skies of Baffin Island will be awash with film crews and garish parachutes to the detriment of anyone who actually went there for a wilderness experience.

Really? really? I find that tenuous and highly unlikely.

Now perhaps a better question might be is the law a new thing. As as far as I know Baffin island has a long history of people BASE jumping there from as others have pointed out the James Bond scene to more recently I saw a film in a Banff showcase a few years ago with the late great Shane McConkey and a bunch of his mates BASE jumping there. So does this mean that they're all criminals or it's a more recent thing? Or they were only charged as it was a large commercial exped/film?

Frank4short - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to TobyA:

> I'm sure someone can correct me but is the same rule in place on the Troll Wall in Norway; i.e. BASE banned but climbing allowed? And the Troll Wall seems risky enough for climbing!

Had a norwegain BASE jumping mate years ago and he told me Troll wall is specifically banned for BASE as the only readily accessible take off point requires a freefall turn to avoid a ledge complex in one of the most inaccessible and unstable points of the wall. This means that if someone jumps and gets in trouble, which is potentially likely as it's apparently an extremely difficult jump at least was prior to that advent of the wingsuit, rescue personnel have to put themselves in great jeopardy to get to the casualty. Which is why it's banned there but not anywhere else in Norway. I wonder if that ban will be reassessed with the advent of wingsuits as this would clearly make it easier to clear said ledge complex.
Offwidth - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to Frank4short: Doesn't stop people doing it though. The helicopter rescue folk in Norway are amazing.. they saved the life of a mate of mine after he was caught up in a nasty climbing accident there and left seriously injured on the wall: they lower the rescuer, fly towards the wall, stop and the rescuer swings in on a pendulum; brave and technical stuff. An illegal base jumper flew past his portaledge the previous evening.
GrahamD - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to Frank4short:

I haven't a clue when this particular law concerning Baffin Island came into force but it must have for some reason - adding laws is not a trivial exercise taken just to piss people off. Ignoring those laws because it doesn't suit the commercial interests of someone is unjustifiable IMO.

Personally I think that laws which try to preserve the wilderness feel of an area are to be encouraged. Its why helicopter flights are restricted in the Alps for instance.
ice.solo - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to TobyA:

that the 'punishment' was $1000 each and a bland public apology INSTEAD of prosecution shows how much of a 'crime' this was.
in a non-climbing world theyve committed something about as criminal as jay-walking, indeed jay-walking seems a more strict offence.

ive no idea of the actual premise, but it sounds like the law isnt 'no base jumping of mt asgard', rather thats a local government restriction with about as much weight as a tresspass law as base jumping itself is not a criminal act, only the location. the law itself thats been broken is the ignoring of that local restriction, and being a national park makes its federally administered, ie a real pain in the ass to prosecute. a donation and apology is a better result than waiting for leo and his friends to come back to canada sometime. even then what would they do - have feds waiting at the airport?

like toby points out: theyre not selling guns to kids. theyve upset a glitch in the legal system rather than done something wrong enough for the courts to bother with.
to carry on about this beinga 'crime' is to stretch the gravity of the term. not all laws are equal, and its absurd for us to argue it when even the canadian justice system can see that. if this is about accepting the standards of a legal system then accept that the legal system concerned itself could be bothered with it.

of course one should be prepared to pay the consequences of knowingly breaking a rule - and when thats a $1000 donation and an hour of the berghaus lawyers time to write the apology its a no brainer in the case of a film at costs tens of thousands to make. leos boots would have cost more. that it will attract hoardes of crazed base jumpers is a witch burning mentality - yeah right, to a remote mountain in the arctic that needs climbing first? trango is easier to get to.

the problem as i see it is that asgard national park needs a permit system for base jumpers as well as climbers and film makers.

simondgee - on 29 Nov 2012
In reply to ice.solo:
>>...that it will attract hoardes of crazed base jumpers is a witch burning mentality - yeah right, to a remote mountain in the arctic that needs climbing first? <<
...but what it does do is fly in the face of environmental management and statutes...Asgard and Base Jumping or mountain biking over tundra habitat...the lines are only grey where you chose them to be...
ice.solo - on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to simondgee:

i agree with you but only at a localized level: mountain bikes on fragile tundra is one thing, jumping off asgard another.
note the minimal regulating of the camping around asgard which would have a greater environmental impact than jumping off it - indeed base jumping is about as low impact as a sport can be. the climbing part would have greater impact and its a $15 dollar a day permit.

yes the lines are grey: thats how they should be. black and white statutes across an area as large as Baffin, let alone all canada is silly, the laws and restrictions need to apply to the fagility of the ecosystem.

if the hoards of base jumpers need curtailing due to environmental impact (and maybe they would, i dont know) then nail them on the impact of the parts of their sport that cause the damage - dont restrict the jumping which the least impactful, restrict the camping or the boat/skidoo access or whatever.

as it goes right now i could boat in 25 friends in a diesel chugging boat, party all week, cook, walk all over the riparian zone and take a shit everyday and thats cool.
but 5 mins plummeting thru the air is considered the 'impact' part (jokes aside)??

these rules need to be flown in the face of (more jokes aside).
In reply to ice.solo: well, I guess its what they said, that lack of rescue facilities allied to a perceived higher rate of risk, rather than environmental considerations?
simondgee - on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to ice.solo:
...the issue has nothing to do with justifying actions on the extent of their environmental impact...it was never done as a protest jump...it was self indulgent fun (fine) hanging under corporate emblazoned canopies (somebody has to pay) in front of a camera for international release... tbh i dont think the Canadian (statute makers) give a shit i suspect that somebody seeing the film (tree hugging lefty) was appalled and forced them to uphold the statute. If it was my country, my hill and i really had environmental motives I would have:
1-issued warrants on the participants, producer (executive and non exec) and director
2-fined them significantly more
3-declared them person no grata unless 4
4- the producer was forced to make a film about environmental management in my country
That would do it...as i say i think they got off incredibly lightly ...which telegraphs that the Canadians arent really seem bothered...as the op states its a shame we havent had the story investigated more..
neuromancer - on 30 Nov 2012
In reply to crossdressingrodney:

>just responding to neuromancer's thoughts about land access

I'm not sure that having a soul and morally condemning base jumping are compatible.

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