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 Post subject: Inukshuks....
PostPosted: February 20th, 2005, 11:51 pm 
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To take the discussion away from the photo contest...

I usually hate inukshuks... At every opportunity to destroy one I do. The only one's I'd leave alone or even think about building myself are the utilitarian kind (human sized), as these actually serve a purpose.

Today, however. I saw this picture:

Image

It comes from this page: http://alavigne.net/newHomePage/Outdoors/TripReports/Torngats2004/index.jsp

It is a marker above the ledge which Susan Barnes died on.

I plan on doing that trip someday, and If I hadn't known about that particular story, I'd knock this one over as well. But now I feel it belongs in that place, and that I would feel very bad about destroying it if I had learned about its story after the fact. Sue only made two posts on this board (here: http://www.myccr.com/SectionForums/search.php?search_author=Susan+Barnes)
But I still feel a connection even though I never met her or Dan.

I don't know what I'll do the next time I come upon an Inukshuk. I don't know its story. It's wierd how some things are OK once they're used to commemorate something.

-ben


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PostPosted: February 21st, 2005, 12:15 am 
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I hope this is taken as a thoughtful response, rather than a knee-jerk reaction.

Life is for the living. I get tired of being reminded of dead people when I go somewhere to relax or contemplate the view. In Vancouver, we can't afford park benches unless someone pays for them to commemorate someone by mounting a plaque on their bench. So you can't sit on a bench without being reminded of someone's death, and I have to say I don't appreciate that. If I want to honour the dead, I'll go to a cemetery.

While Sue and Dan's plans were ambitious, they did not survive the first of their list of conquests, and the jury will always be out as to whether their deaths resulted from incompetence. So they are hardly in the same league as, say, MacKenzie or Hearne. Yes, they were fine people, doing an excellent adventure, and suffered a very unfortunate outcome. But that doesn't entitle desecration of the wilderness, and I doubt they would approve. Their slides and videos ensure preservation of their memory.

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PostPosted: February 21st, 2005, 8:22 am 
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Ben---I was just going to post the same picture, after I made a post about Dan and Sue under Hikers Found. I did not realize your post was of the same topic. Did you watch the W5 doc? That is what inspired me to read the thread and links about them.

Amazing Picture!

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PostPosted: February 21st, 2005, 11:29 am 
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Then you'll be sorry to hear that their family will be arranging for the placement of a plaque at the summit of the mountain, and that another peak in the area has already been named after them.

Would you knock this Inukshuk over if you climbed this hill knowing its story? If you went later and found the plaque, would you destroy it? Are they not the same thing? or would you be disgusted that someone left a dedication to these people on the spot where their bodies lay for an entire year?

I'm sorry you hate sitting on park benches, dedicated to dead people. There is no burden of duty or responsibility in these things though. You aren't required to do a dance for the dead person before you use the bench. You aren't even required to think about them, it's just a little plaque on the bench that can be ignored at will. The family of that person obviously thought that giving people a place to stop, rest, and enjoy the scenery was a good thing. Even a message that 'Life IS for the living, enjoy it while you're here'

Like freedom and other, worthwile things that people have died for, I think they deserve the markers that others leave for them. The fact that Sue and Dan were perhaps out of their league or made mistakes doesn't change that. If they only serve as an example of what can go wrong when un-prepared or 'shit happens', they have done all of us a service. As a result of this, who knows how many more people will turn back instead of proceeding ill-prepared. Or how many people will better appreciate the reward of doing something dangerous and getting through it, knowing that sometimes the difference between life and death is a bit of bad luck.

I think this photo is wonderful. And I hate inukshuks, as mentioned above. I understand that you think 'life is for the living' but I hardly think a memorial is a 'desecration' of the wilderness.

Cheers,
-ben


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PostPosted: February 21st, 2005, 11:44 am 
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Ben,
I agree with your comments. We do learn where the line is on wilderness risk often by the trajic outcome of other people's misfortune. I don't see how this inukshuk in such a remote place could bother anyone . Aside from the question of their skills , Dan and Sue paid the ulimate price for their wilderness zeal.
If one ever made it to those mountains it might be quite the effort to find the inukshuk period. Make it to the summit and the plaque may have some redeeming value to you.


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PostPosted: February 21st, 2005, 11:59 am 
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Just some other things I found made with rocks in the Killarney area...

"John & Linda" written in rocks high up on a ridge. Easily kicked apart with my heavy-duty MEC mountaineering boots.

A great, big, honking peace sign made from hundreds of rocks gathered up from everywhere in the area. Too large to kick apart, but the boots were good enough to scatter the rocks into random order.

Complex fireplace structure that some enterprising campers built, using every loose rock they could find. This was the only use of rocks that I enjoyed, but later on two rangers showed up and asked if I built that. I said no, they said they'd be around later to kick it apart with their boots, since building rock structures runs against park management guidelines.

Inukshuks. Shucks... these are just too easy. Enjoy owning good boots.

Rock cairns marking the tops of peaks. Sometimes these get the boots, and sometimes they don't, it depends on how hard the climb was to get there. Usually, they get the boots.

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PostPosted: February 22nd, 2005, 11:09 pm 
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This is an interesting thing to mull over.

I think the family has every right to establish any sort of memorial they want - on their own property. No one would allow my relatives to erect a memorial to me in front of Toronto City Hall. I don't think that erecting a memorial wherever someone dies is sustainable. Our ancestors had the foresight to figure out that memorials to the dead were best collected into defined spaces, such a cemeteries. Should every person killed in war have a cairn or some such thing at the death scene? (Where would they farm in France?) Car accidents? Hospital rooms? Your house?

I'd venture that a lot of these memorials are not as much to "preserve and honour the memory" of the deceased, as they are superstitious denials of their deaths or attempts to pretend the dead are still alive. I don't think the wilderness should be diminished for that end.

If I came across the plaque or Sue's inukshuk, I wouldn't wreck them. I'd just lament the human condition. And I repeat, since no one seemed to notice, that I doubt Sue and Dan would have condoned these memorials to themselves on the mountain. It could be argued that the more remote the location of the memorial, the more disturbing it is.

An awful lot of people, from powerboaters and paddlers, to hikers and mountain climbers and motorists along the highway, are very busily building all sorts of THINGS out of the backcountry's rocks. When is this going to end, when there are no more rocks not piled up? All these things diminsh the scenery, in my opinion. They are all intended to call attention to individuals, not to improve the land. How much of this stuff is enough? Visit the Rockies, where some mountainsides sport hundreds of these things. Did I go there to look at that? If you want to look at that, go to an art gallery. There is a finite amount of wilderness, undisturbed land, and these cairns etc. are withdrawals from that storehouse.

Why do we establish parks in cities? Because we enjoy "natural" places. So why diminish natural spaces unnecessarily?

These rock creations are about attracting attention to the people involved. They are not for the benefit of the mountain or wherever. They are impossible to ignore, exactly because the intent behind most of them is to be noticed. Of course, mountains and other places are often named after people. But usually the standard of greatness is higher than in this case.

Now, having said that, there is a tradition in mountaineering that the first person up a peak is entitled to build a cairn. That way anyone coming later knows someone else was there first. Usually a summit record is also established and people "sign in". Some of these summit records become historical documents, and certainly are interesting depending on where they are. This may seem silly to non-mountaineers, but they are a part of the mountaineering community.

All but a few first-summiteers take advantage of this, and I've had the luck to be the, or part of the first recorded party to reach the top of about a dozen mountains. I/we built cairns on the ones not covered by snow, and I acknowledge that activity is ego-driven. Until this discussion, I had not considered those cairns would detract from the experience of those who might want to see the mountaintop unmodified, and might find their experience of the mountain diminished by our cairns. To them, I apologize. If you want to knock the carins down, that's fine with me. Let it be known that whatever the circumstances of my death, I emphatically do not want any memorial placed anywhere in the backcountry. Donate the costs to a good charity instead.

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PostPosted: February 23rd, 2005, 4:25 am 
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Any comments on this bit of vandalism?

Image

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PostPosted: February 23rd, 2005, 4:31 am 
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Maybe this graffitti should be removed,it's a blight on public land.

Image

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PostPosted: February 23rd, 2005, 6:21 am 
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recped wrote:
Any comments on this bit of vandalism?

Image

I'm staying out of the inukshuk debate, but gotta comment on this one: Never mind the defacing of the rocks, but if the locals had gotten a hold of that Alexander guy, he probably would not have made it back alive.


Last edited by Erhard on February 23rd, 2005, 6:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: February 23rd, 2005, 6:25 am 
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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. While historicaly significant, I can't say either record of human passing turns my crank. Ditto for inukshuks.

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PostPosted: February 23rd, 2005, 10:38 am 
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Sometimes I wish people would be more active in kicking apart cairns at the tops of peaks - if you build the cairn, there's some value in knowing whether anybody's been there since to destroy it.

I've built up some minor cairns marking hard-to-get to spots in Algonquin, and in the fifteen years since I've been doing this, the ones I've taken the trouble to revisit are still there, untouched, with not a single sign that anybody's been there. If people enjoyed destroying these things and removing signs of useless human creativity from the landscape, at least there'd be some indication of how popular that spot is.

But so far, nothing, no boots being put to work for restorative purposes. Maybe people have been there, maybe they haven't. If they have, maybe they accept the intrusive sight of the cairn, and maybe it's fine with them that it's there.

OTOH, if you do find cairns, some of the sense of isolation is destroyed, and if the previous visitors felt free enough to modify the landscape as they felt fit, I'm just as free to modify it again.


As far as Killarney goes, where ridge-climbing is a far more popular activity, once I heard rocks rumbling during a quiet evening for awhile, off and on. I met the characters that were responsible for that the next day and they turned out to be rangers with some time off. They explained they were busy breaking up "all the crap that people build up there"...

:roll:

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PostPosted: February 23rd, 2005, 10:49 am 
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Of all the things people could possibly leave or alter while tripping, Inukshuks are hardly the worst things possible.

Especially if they are built in the spirit of the original Inukshuks; to the Inuit that built the large ones, there was great significance - as a compass, as a message and as a reminder.

I think it requires great thought before dismantling any Inukshuk found along the way. While some may be made by people trying to help other adventurers chose the right path, others may be to commemorate someone or something and still others may just be a monument to the person who made it.

The Inuit people of this country left a mark on the land, but one that is far more beautiful and useful than the marks on the country left by those who came after, including us. If someone wishes to pay tribute to those people and those ideals, I'm all for it.


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 Post subject: Inukshuks
PostPosted: February 23rd, 2005, 3:54 pm 
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Quote:
This is an interesting thing to mull over.

I would like to mull this with you SGrant
8)

Quote:
I think the family has every right to establish any sort of memorial they want - on their own property. No one would allow my relatives to erect a memorial to me in front of Toronto City Hall.

You’re not ‘Famous’. . . yet
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I don't think that erecting a memorial wherever someone dies is sustainable

Le Pyramid.
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Our ancestors had the foresight to figure out that memorials to the dead were best collected into defined spaces,

Les Pyramides?
Quote:
such as cemeteries.

Architecturally speaking, the first CITIES were built for the dead, Necropoli(s )
Quote:
Should every person killed in war have a cairn or some such thing at the death scene?

I think you should visit VIMY RIDGE, and then go to Washington and tell me what you FEEL at the wall.
Quote:
Where would they farm in France?

They don’t farm in those places, the ground is consecrated forever with the blood of thousands of beautiful young men pointlessly massacred-never mind France where bones continue to rise up, ask any American about the remains of their Civil War.
Quote:
Car accidents?

There are wreaths and crosses all over the place and as we drive by them on long stretches of the Trans Canada enroute to our trips I ask the Captain” What the hell (could’ve) happened here? Clean stretch of highway . .etc.etc.
Quote:
Hospital rooms?

Entire Wards are funded by bereaved Families who want their cash, in the Memory of their Loved one, to go to good purpose
Quote:
Your house?


Only my Cats rate that site

Quote:
I'd venture that a lot of these memorials are not as much to "preserve and honour the memory" of the deceased, as they are superstitious denials of their deaths or attempts to pretend the dead are still alive.

‘denial’, ‘pretend’ . . . how about culture, custom, ritual
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I don't think the wilderness should be diminished for that end.

Wilderness can never ever be diminished,
[i]She takes us all back again . . . into her bosom


Quote:
If I came across the plaque or Sue's inukshuk, I wouldn't wreck them. I'd just lament the human condition.

Not the whole condition- not big enough, just the unfortunate fate of one individual.
Quote:
And I repeat, since no one seemed to notice, that I doubt Sue and Dan would have condoned these memorials to themselves on the mountain.

I dunno-oh . . lotta talk about disturbed spirits wanderin’ around,
still in shock they ‘flubbed’ it :-? :(
Quote:
It could be argued that the more remote the location of the memorial, the more disturbing it is.

[i]It should disturb. It is the single greatest mystery of our living lives.
At Canoe Lake in Algonquin we ventured to find the ‘reputed first burial Place’ for Tom Thompson,
other graves had joined him and a Huge Cairn with a rather long epitaph . . .” I once stood where you stand now “. . . it is such a knife edge SGrant- isn’t it, now you’re here, now you’re not
And where the hell (oops) are we all going?????


Quote:
An awful lot of people, from powerboaters and paddlers, to hikers and mountain climbers and motorists along the highway, are very busily building all sorts of THINGS out of the backcountry's rocks.

Oh relaxxxx :-?
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When is this going to end,

:-? it looks like never, inukshuks are a fad :D
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when there are no more rocks not piled up

C’mon, school teacher look . . . :-?
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All these things diminsh the scenery, that look again in my opinion. They are all intended to call attention to individuals

yes, you and me someday . if we were ‘good’, :D
.
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. .not to improve the land. How much of this stuff is enough? Visit the Rockies, where some mountainsides sport hundreds of these things. Did I go there to look at that?

:o These times of ours are the days of reconciliation . . . the mess of the Last War and then all of them before that, the policy of Manifest destiny, which is why me and you are here, pick a topic, lots to chose from :o
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If you want to look at that, go to an art gallery.

THAT STUFF IN THE Art Gallery is a whole other trip 8)
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There is a finite amount of wilderness, undisturbed land, and these cairns etc. are withdrawals from that storehouse.

Head still shaking, another swig of bourbon 8)

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Why do we establish parks in cities?

For the trees, to oxygenate the air, Central Park in New York
ARE THE LUNGS OF THE CITY

Quote:
Because we enjoy "natural" places. So why diminish natural spaces unnecessarily?

This is philosophical, some people need to mark their passage on the trail (perhaps because they feel so small and irrelevant in the big scenery or just sheer joy of having made it through! . .wait til you reach your summit!) 8)

Quote:
These rock creations are about attracting attention to the people involved. They are not for the benefit of the mountain or wherever

When did Mr. Mountain ever care?
Quote:
They are impossible to ignore, exactly because the intent behind most of them is to be noticed

some interventions I find are quite clever . .I wish I had thought of them,
Although some gestures I find are quite useful, like the neatly cut and stashed away pile of firewood.

Quote:
Of course, mountains and other places are often named after people

hiking up to Mt. Edith Clavell, plaque, who the hell was she I ask the Captain and why does she rate a mountain? Plaque reads: . . . .WWI Nurse,refused to leave her post at Hospital in occupied zone, tended to wounded on BOTH sides,
Helped 200 Allied soldiers escape from hospital, for this, she was executed, by firing squad . . .
Last sentence reads: Woman and Mountain endure.(gawd I luv that, it was worth the climb to read those words

Quote:
But usually the standard of greatness is higher than in this case.

Well yea-ah . . . but does what Edith did really measure up to the size of that mountain . . .not. Oh the angels must be smiling. :D

Quote:
Now, having said that, there is a tradition in mountaineering that the first person up a peak is entitled to build a cairn. That way anyone coming later knows someone else was there first. Usually a summit record is also established and people "sign in". Some of these summit records become historical documents, and certainly are interesting depending on where they are. This may seem silly to non-mountaineers, but they are a part of the mountaineering community.

I dunno SGrant, everything you have said before this is suspect now 8)
by you now making your case for a bunch of Uber-guys climbing Mountains and the Ta-daa moment
. :D

Quote:
All but a few first-summiteers take advantage of this, and I've had the luck to be the, or part of the first recorded party to reach the top of about a dozen mountains.

p-o-s-i-n-g 8) (but that’s ok really, we’re all posers)
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I/we built cairns on the ones not covered by snow, and I acknowledge that activity is ego-drive

un-hunh, it’s what keeps us moving along . . . 8)

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Until this discussion, I had not considered those cairns would detract from the experience of those who might want to see the mountaintop unmodified

:( [i]C’mon Grant, it’s just too bloody lonely :( NOT to have seen some ‘footprints’ afore you!,

Quote:
and might find their experience of the mountain diminished by our cairns
:-?
Bring them on . . ‘she’ll take them back soon enough :(
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To them, I apologize. If you want to knock the carins down, that's fine with me. Let it be known that whatever the circumstances of my death,
:wink: let’s hope you don’t trip!
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I emphatically do not want any memorial placed anywhere in the backcountry

FYi @ Architekt’s Corner Post :o
mentions a stone turned up on end . . ‘I was here’. :o
Quote:
Donate the costs to a good charity instead.

OK . :(
but I want a big mother of a Pyramid
Pyramid = symbol of s i l e n c e.
Bottle now empty.
8)


Image
somewhere along the Spanish (the Captain paying hommage)

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Last edited by siren1 on February 23rd, 2005, 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: February 23rd, 2005, 5:24 pm 
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Tedious, velly velly tedious. Ho humm! :cry:

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