Petzl was disappointed to hear that one of our athletes, Joe Kinder, recently cut down two juniper trees at the base of a cliff beneath a route he developed in the Tahoe area of California. Petzl does not approve of these actions and expects all members of our athlete team to respect local ethics and regulations.

In a blog posted October 21st, Joe explained that he felt the trees could pose a hazard to those climbing on the new route, but later realized that he'd made a mistake in their removal. In his blog post and in conversations with Petzl, Joe has expressed deep regret for cutting down the trees, apologizing and owning up to the fact that his actions were unwarranted and harmful.

Joe has been a Petzl athlete for 12 years and in that time has served as a strong ambassador for the brand. His climbing, energy, and positive attitude have inspired many in the community. We've been in contact with Joe and he truly regrets his act and understands its impact. But as actions speak louder than words, we're encouraged that in addition to paying a fine to the Forest Service, Joe has also decided to donate $1,000 to the Sierra Nevada Alliance, whose mission is to protect and restore the natural resources of the Sierra Nevada for future generations while promoting sustainable communities. Joe will also donate a week of his time to tree planting and other service in Yosemite National Park.

We feel that it is in everyone's interest to treat the natural environment with the greatest care and respect. Those who recreate in the outdoors should be particularly attuned to such matters. That's why environmental stewardship is one of the three pillars of the Petzl Foundation, Petzl's non-profit arm dedicated to giving back to the communities that support us, and why Petzl proudly supports the Conservation Alliance. As a founding sponsor of the Access Fund, Petzl understands all too well that careless actions not only take a toll on the environment, but can also cause access issues for the rest of the climbing community.

We appreciate Joe's apology and his willingness to back it up with action. We believe that every mistake is an opportunity for growth and learning. With this in mind, we will be funding a new communications program in partnership with the Access Fund. The goal of this initiative is to help new and seasoned climbers alike better understand best practices when climbing and developing new routes on public and private lands.

As one of Joe's sponsors, we wish to reiterate our disappointment in his actions in the Tahoe area; they are not in keeping with our expectations for our athlete team or with our values as a company. We feel confident that Joe will take whatever steps necessary to make things right, in the local Tahoe climbing community and beyond.