Dean Potter and his wife, Steph Davis, two of the most accomplished mountaineers in the world, will no longer be rock climbing ambassadors for the Patagonia outdoors clothing company, reports Angus M. Thuermer Jr. of Jackson Hole News & Guide (Wyoming).
Last May 2006, Potter climbed Delicate Arch, the state of Utah's most famous natural icon situated in Arches National Park. His ascent was filmed for promotional purposes. Regulations of the National Park Service ban all climbing ascents of 'named' arches in Arches National Park. It created a storm in the world climbing community. The National Park restated their ban on climbing 'named' arches plus a prohibition against the placing of new fixed climbing anchors and a ban on slacklining.
New Hampshire born Dean Potter is well known as a speed climber and soloists with many firsts in Yosemite and Patagonia. He's the only person to free climb Yosemite's Half Dome and El Cap in a single day and made a fine solo of Astroman and the ceiling crack, Seperate Reality. In Patagonia, Dean made the first ever free solo of the Supercanaleta on Fitz Roy, followed with the Compressor Route on Cerro Torre and later free soloed the first ascent of Californian Roulette on Fitz Roy. He is now an accomplished BASE jumper and has plans to solo several big walls and link them by parachute descent wearing a Wingsuit.
At the time of the Delicate Arch controversy Potter was supported by the company but almost a year later they have had a re-think. See UKClimbing.com's news reports at the time (click here)
In Ventura, California at Patagonia HQ, Rob Bon Durant, vice president of marketing and communications for Patagonia, said Potter and Davis will cease their association with the company at the end of the fiscal year, May 1. Dean and Steph will not remain ambassadors,” he said, calling their departure part of a “natural cycle.” There are no hard feelings, Bon Durant added. “Everybody's on great terms,” he said.
Potter said that Davis also losing her position with Patagonia was the biggest blow. “She got dragged in and somehow exiled with me,” he said.
“Yvon and Malinda are really like family to us,” Potter said of the Chouinards. “We really respect them. We hoped to be with Patagonia the rest of our lives.”