National Geographic : 2011 Sep
• LETTERS EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org TWITTER @NatGeoSociety WRITE National Geographic Magazine, PO Box 98199, Washington, DC 20090-8199. Include name, address, and daytime telephone. Letters may be edited for clarity and length. May 2011 Corrections MAY 2011: A FRAGILE EMPIRE Page 45: The turtle shown is a loggerhead, not a hawksbill. Pages 46-7: R. J. Beaman and David Hopley, both of James Cook University, should have been credited on the map. GRAPHIC: LAWSON PARKER, NGM STAFF. ART: JASON LEE The elite climbers in your article are a rarity among the thou- sands of recreational climbers Yosemite welcomes every year. Even rarer---since it's illegal---are the BASE jumpers pictured. BASE jumping has nothing to do with the sport of rock climbing. And while you note that it is illegal, including the photo and the comment that it is "more fun" than hiking all the way down the mountain suggests you condone this activity, which is prohibited in the park and poses serious safety concerns. Conservation and climbing have been inextricably connected since John Muir first ascended Cathedral Peak in Yosemite Valley in 1869. Your article missed an opportunity to share the story of the cooperation between climbers and park managers to preserve Yosem- ite's vertical wilderness. Many climbers return to Yosemite yearly and have worked with the National Park Service to develop and improve low-impact climbing techniques to protect the park's iconic big walls. JONATHAN B. JARVIS Director National Park Service Washington, D.C. I was dismayed to see you feature the so-called free soloists. They are amazing climbers, but they are certainly not free. It is obsession, not challenge, that they pursue. The proof of this is that they engage in their sport without safety and therefore without regard to the grief their deaths would inflict on their fellow climbers, their families, and their friends---not to mention the loss of such obviously able people to society. These "free" soloists are playing Russian roulette with rocks. JEFF BARRY Acton, Massachusetts Yosemite Your story emphasizes the new breed of rock climbers who consider El Capitan an "international proving ground." You note that many are superb athletes who train like Olympic gymnasts. Yet approximately 20 parties require evacuation by search-and- rescue teams in Yosemite each year. Given the fatalities and injuries involved, I wonder how search-and-rescue personnel feel about BASE jumpers who leap illegally from Half Dome because it's faster and more fun than having to hike "all the way down the back of the mountain." EDWARD DAVIS Oscoda, Michigan 1 10 14 76UH OH F E E D BAC K ese numbers re ect opinions found in your letters about our Yosemite coverage. ought dangerous behavior shouldn't be glorified Took o ense at the BASE- jumping photo Found the article unsettling Disagreed that Yosemite forges "heroes" Asked "What if they get a cramp?"