“Today, wilderness areas are like islands. In 1970 it was the opposite. Civilization was made up of small islands, and everything else was wild.”
—John Williamson, “Red Rock: Voices in the Desert,” Alpinist 28

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