THE LAST FEE FREE WEEKEND.............................for a little while.   2/09/11


The outlawry has begun.  And so will the fee on Wednesday.  On Friday we will backpack after paying the fee (my first and only time to pay the fee, by the way,) then the United States Department of Interior versus John Quillen and other individual members of the Southern Forest Watch suit is filed early next week.    If you were wondering why we have to wait to file the fee, it is simple.  We can't litigate over what we haven't paid.  Since those morons don't even have their online system up and working yet, I will have to wait until Wednesday to actually pay the four dollars.    That is why we have been asking for money from you, to cover the legal fees, depositions etc.  Many folks have donated.  Pretty much all the Southern Highlanders, Muir Faction, Hell Guys etc.    Many have not  but I don't want to call anyone out by name, Dumplin Valleylanders.

in attendance beneath this flag were......................................................HIGHLANDERS!

(2 Dvers with SHighlander connections did donate.  But they are very active backpackers)

On Tuesday there will likely be some more bad press for Ditmanson.  It will cause another Excedrin PM moment for the Park Superintendent and his $176,000 salary, which almost covers the money generated by this fee.   Stay tuned for events this Tuesday on the  website and   

But back to the weekend event.  I had to cancel at the last minute as a result of breaking my toe.  I was getting in the shower at Court South when my flip flop caught the edge and caused me to lurch forward bending my second toe in and down.  It was and is still painful, but only when I walk on it.  I will hobble in to our destination next weekend one way or another.  It is a shame.  I had so looked forward to this Outlaw event.  There will be many future opportunities.

If anyone here is a Blount County Resident and would like to join us for something significant in the fee fighting movement Tuesday evening, email me or hit us up in the guest comments.  It is a secret for now.


The Next Big Idea

Now for a change of direction.  Some folks had asked about our next expedition plan and I wanted to take this opportunity to ouline our target.  Brian and I have long been itching for the Karakoram since our failed Gasherbrum 2 expedition in 2009 where everything fell apart months before departure.   Over Christmas we were heading for Mexico when the airline flights vaporized beneath our noses.  That led to a revisitation of the 8000 meter zone.  I suggested we take another look at the Karakoram and Brian immediately interjects, "What about Broad Peak?".

  That is the only way to hatch a trip plan.  Let me explain how this works.  In mountaineering, with the inherent risks and extreme commitments all decisions must be choreographed, researched and agreed upon months in advance.  Pakistan isn't the most stable region in the world and passport/visa issues abound from the get go.  The logisitics of executing a 60 day expedition are more daunting than the actual climb. (It will be this summer)  We have a two week trek into one of the most remote areas of the world before the actual climbing even begins.  It will take over 100 porters to tote our expedition gear and support a multinational team on the 12th highest mountain on earth.  Deciding whom to trust for these tasks has been a labor of research for several years.  Just like when I researched Denali many years ago, there was but one choice for this mountain and the Karakoram range.  Brian had climbed with Field Touring on Aconcagua and was pleased with their ground logisitics.  They are the Karakoram specialists and have more Broad Peak expeditions under their belt than any other company.  What we will get from them is a little more than our self supported ascent of Muztagh Ata in 2011.  Although this is NOT a guided climb, there is an additional level of support from these guys.

As with any mountain, all climbing decisions are solely our own.  At 26,414 feet we will be ascending fixed ropes, glaciated terrain and a few sections of moderately technical rock and ice.  As our experts have confirmed, this is a mountain that keeps your attention the whole time.

What excites me as much as the altitude is Broad Peak's proximity to K2, the second highest mountain on earth at 28, 251.  Our base camp will essentially be in the shadow of this great mountain upon which I have only gazed one time from the top of Muztagh Ata.  Our trek up the Concordia glacier will be adventure filled, to be certain.   Brian is in excellent shape and I began training in earnest before Christmas.  Between training, fee fighting and having two regular jobs, the notion of being "unplugged" for 60 days is invitation enough.  Below is an outline of the expedition.  Anyone viewing who would like more information about our planned ascent can feel free to contact me   

Broad Peak Expedition | Field Touring Alpine


I encourage everyone reading to commit yourself to the next week of fee media.  If you are not financially able to donate to the Southern Forest Watch, please assist us in other ways by liking our webpage on your facebook or commenting on news articles that will come out in the paper within the next week.  We need all the comments to generate more media.  There is a new Dept of Interior Secretary nominee.  I suspect that Ditmanson and his moustache will retire soon and that may be another opportunity for us to kill the FEE once and for all.   If you think that the fight is over, you haven't been following events.  It just begins this week.  ON Wednesday the fee goes into place, next week we file the lawsuit and more media ensues, especially following what is likely to transpire on tuesday.  30 minutes of comments could equal a financial donation.  Better yet, email WBIR and ask them why they have refused to cover our intended lawsuit like all other media outlets?  Use social media to get the message out.  Our main friends in this fight, from a media standpoint have been Morgan Simmons with KNS, WATE and National Park Traveler.  The Maryville Daily Times has done some stuff.  Glaringly absent is the entirety of Sevier county.   Sevier County has refused to even acknowledge this controversy.  Perhaps you have connections there.  Lean on Folks.   How about Cocke County?  After Tuesday, we will need those connections.

Do what you can and be a part of the solution.     I wish to close this week's missive with a quote from a famous American.  The Southern Forest Watch has worked tirelessly over the past year.  Our attorney, Myers, has a full time job for which he is getting paid NOTHING.  Many others are doing the same and I will clarify that a little more in the coming weeks.  For the sake of you with children who want to expose them to the Park that was donated by volunteer efforts, consider what this noteworthy former President and National Park advocate had to say,

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." -- Theodore Roosevelt

I wish everyone a great week "in the arena" of life.

John Quillen