Jumping the Gun

A recent incident in Jackson has me thinking about how some companies are really quick to pull the trigger and distance themselves from their athletes when things go south. You’d think if there was really a strong relationship there, they would work through it together and move on, perhaps even support the person publicly. Everybody makes mistakes, right? Live and learn. That seems to be rare though, usually it’s “later sucka!”

The incident I’m referring to involved Stephen Koch and Exum Guides in Jackson, Wyoming. A video was posted on YouTube of him and friends using a snowmobile to access a peak in Teton Park. Now snowmobiles are allowed by the park service on Jackson Lake if you’re a big fat ass and can’t haul your fishing gear onto the lake, but if you are trying to ski a peak, that’s a big no no. So park service hypocrisy aside, it was found that he violated the rules and was subsequently fired by Exum Guides.  Also, the ensuing shit storm on the internet has convinced me not only is Jackson full of self righteous assholes, but that if you are gonna do something like this, just leave the video camera at home! A similar incident comes to mind with Dean Potter on Delicate Arch. I highly doubt Dean was the first person to climb it (or the last), but he was the only one dumb enough to bring a camera crew, and he paid for it by losing what I imagine was a pretty sweet deal with Patagonia.

I understand these companies don’t want to lose face with the public, and sometimes their knee jerk reactions may be appropriate, but I guess the true moral of the story here is just to leave the video camera at home, and no one will ever know!

3 Responses to Jumping the Gun

  1. Yeah, I read about this last week and felt really bad for Stephen. We climbed with him for a day as part of a two-person Exum “advanced rock clinic.” He went over alpine rock strategies and self rescue skills with us, and Stephen is a really great guy. I’m pretty pissed off that he’s getting shat on like this from so many people, for something that lots of people do. Blah.

    Kate C March 5, 2009 at 5:11 pm
  2. I think that it is unfortunate, how quick the outdoor world judges. Stephen has done his part for many years, teaching and educating others about climbing and avalanches. Although the snowmobile incident wasn’t the best of choices, he has done a lot more good than bad.

    Tracy March 5, 2009 at 7:20 pm
  3. To quote Chick McGee “No pictures, no video, deny, deny deny”

    Dave March 8, 2009 at 5:31 pm
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