San Diego’s premier crag, El Cajon, has been targeted by an individual bent on removing or destroying fixed anchors and bolts. According to local Chris Hubbard, who co-authored the San Diego County Climbing Guide with Dave Kennedy, the vandal has chopped 16 100-foot sport pitches at El Cajon and several routes at Mission Gorge. When first ascentionists, including the legendary Randy Leavitt, attempted to re-bolt damaged routes, the lines were again chopped.
Recently, this individual has escalated his attacks by digging out sections of trail and by destroying holds. Locals have begun an earnest campaign to stop the damage before someone gets hurt. Wanted posters have been put up at local gyms and circulating petitions demand that this individual cease and desist his activities related to the removal or destruction of fixed safety anchors stop all theft of climbing gear and cease all threats towards other climbers. At the November 11 Access Fund Adopt-a-Crag event at the El Cajon trailhead, over 100 people signed this petition.
Although no one has seen the suspect in action, local Gary Anderson says he was present when the individual went into a rage a couple of times and threatened to chop every route up there. The suspected vandal has also verbally threatened new routers, including Dave Kennedy.
“It’s a good thing I’m an ethical, married guy,” says Kennedy, echoing the sentiments of many San Diego climbers, “because otherwise [the suspect] would be in the hospital and I’d be in jail.”