“Today, wilderness areas are like islands. In 1970 it was the opposite. Civilization was made up of small islands, and everything else was wild.”
At first, the sheer size of Red Rock created an unusual reality: most of the climbers did not know one another, and the fragmented community developed a variety of ethics. Some, like Urioste, drilled bolts with the intention of making routes more pleasant; others, most notably the Adventure Punks—a group of bold purists in the 1980s—avoided placing bolts whenever possible.
For a long time these philosophies co-existed, and from a grand perspective there was one unifying ethic: the freedom of difference.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. [Illustration] Jeremy Collins