A Change in Mood on the Mountain

There has been a tangible shift in mood on the mountain. I sense this change in all I talk to. The sentiment toward the TMT protesters has turned from one of tolerance to active hostility. They crossed a line, and I think everyone knows it, including the protesters.

Ahu in the Road
An ahu built in the downhill lane of the Mauna Kea summit access road
From everyone’s comments it was the blocking and damage to the summit road that was the critical moment. There has always been a certain sympathy for the protesters among the mountain crews. We may disagree, but at least we understand the source of that disagreement. We are Americans, with an understanding of the right to protest, of respect for those who stand up for their beliefs.

That has changed.

Everyone who works on the mountain understands that the road is an absolutely vital link. It is the only means by which to evacuate the summit in an emergency, the only route by which help can come in the case of trouble. Contrary to many glib Facebook assertions our local fire department helicopters can not operate safely at high elevation. I have seen comments by protesters that downplay the danger, they simply do not understand the seriousness of their actions.

Meanwhile, the mainstream media has been parroting this “public safety concern” language. Of course, they are trying to deceive the public into thinking the Mauna Kea Protectors and the pohaku present the safety hazard. They are lying. – Will Falk

“Pohaku” is of course the Hawaiian word for stone. In his writing Will waxes poetic about the effort and the beauty of placing the rocks on the road, then calls the safety concerns “lying”. His casual disregard for safety is distressing, and typical of those who simply disrespect the mountain, her beauty and her risks.

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