Joe Kinder Reflects on Aftermath of Controversial Tree-Cutting Incident

In early October 2013, professional climber Joe Kinder cut down two juniper trees, one alive and one dead, in Tahoe, California, sparking a violent backlash toward the professional climber from the community. Following the incident, Kinder received death threats, hate messages, and antagonizing phone calls from complete strangers. Now, almost a month later, Kinder discusses the aftermath of the situation.

In July 2012, Tahoe locals took him to a new cliff in the Tahoe area where he climbed Tree Beard (5.12c), which Kinder describes as the one of the best 5.12c’s he had done in his life. Kinder realized the potential for developing new routes on the granite wall, and returned to get to work. While developing a new route, Kinder had to lower through a 10-foot-tall, 10-inch-thick tree, which stood by another dead tree at the base of the route. Kinder realized the safety threat the trees could pose to climbers. He left the crag torn, thinking of the trees but also about the granite he calls, “one of the best crags in the U.S., no doubt.”

He came back in the first week of October with friend Ethan Pringle and Pringle’s girlfriend. Kinder made the decision to cut the trees down to provide the safest route possible, having never been told that they were juniper trees, which are illegal to remove. Junipers are spread across Tahoe and are known for their ability to thrive on little water, their incredibly long life span (they live hundreds of years), and their rich history in Native American cultures.

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Joe Kinder Reflects on Aftermath of Controversial Tree-Cutting Incident


5 Responses to Joe Kinder Reflects on Aftermath of Controversial Tree-Cutting Incident

  1. Derek Marshall Nov 11, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    Wow. I’m impressed with the backlash & reaction.

  2. paulb Nov 13, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

    Wow, drama!! Some funny comments on Joe’s blog too:


    Unacceptable – WOW. Just WOW. Joe, I think this is a completely ridiculous insincere apology on your part, and I think that it is in your best interest to STOP climbing. Seriously, we don’t want you in OUR tribe anymore. You know, the ones who care about the trees. What about the trees Joe!? I’m distraught over this right now, nearly on the brink of tears all day. Junipers are beloved trees around the Tahoe vicinity and I just think that your irrationality was completely uncalled for. As far as I’m concerned, WE shouldn’t be satisfied until he turns himself into the authorities and SERVES JAIL TIME! We hunted down and made KONY 2012 viral last year, LET’S MAKE THIS KINDER 2013! KINDER 2013! KINDER 2013! You disgust me Joe. You and your pathetic fan base. KINDER 2013!


    Julie – My blood is boiling. I can’t believe some of the hate-filled comments on here. And to “Unacceptable”-you’ve been distraught, and “nearly on the brink of tears all day?” I wish my life was so worry-free that I could devote such emotion to the loss of a tree. I am appalled that, in a community I have always thought was a collection of good-hearted souls, people can be so unforgiving. Yes, Joe made a huge mistake, and if you actually knew him, you would know he feels GENUINELY HORRIBLE for doing it. Nice, though, that he’s not even been given a chance to show how he will give back for his actions. I hope I have the opportunity to pass judgment on some of you one day….

    Dave Mcleod!:

    DAVE MACLEOD – Good blog. You saw your mistake, held your hands up and learned. Everyone is party to precious trees and habitats getting chopped down to grow the food we buy (try googling ‘amazon destruction’ – 6 football fields per minute!). I doubt many people who have been critical of you even bother to wonder about the similar mistake they make every day. It’s out of sight, so out of mind.


    D Lee – Too little too late. It’s a real shame that this happened. Even worse that he tried to deny it. An apology triggered by public shaming is not an apology at all, just an acknowledgement of fault.
    What you did to this tree and what you’ve done for the general perception of climbers will significantly outweigh any positive contributions you’ve made to the community.
    To the people calling us haters and suggesting that we are jealous of Joe’s “skills”, you guys continue to demonstrate to the world that rock climbers are an ignorant immature group of people that make no positive contribution to society.
    To the other’s that are trying to downplay this whole thing, there is simply no route in this world that is so important that you could justify cutting down a tree. And there never will be. Climbing a rock for your own self satisfaction will never justify doing irreparable damage to our beautiful planet. All trees are precious.
    Joe, you’re heart was not in the right place and you didn’t learn anything the hard way. There is no silver lining here. Stop looking for sympathy. You’re an immature asshat that puts his own personal enjoyment above this planet’s. And has to be publically shamed to own up to it. I look forward to seeing you make this right, but I won’t hold my breadth.
    I’ve never been more depressed to call myself a climber.

    Best internet read all day!

  3. Brian Weaver Nov 14, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

    Excuse my ignorance but what’s the problem? He cut down a tree. He apologized. Publicly. Poor guy.

  4. paulb Nov 15, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

    Some really hardcore responses. Apparently he even received death threats. People have their priorities seriously twisted.

  5. Derek Marshall Nov 20, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    Clearly Joe’s trees matter to some people.

    Me…I’ve cut down too many trees to point any dirty fingers.

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