By Susan Skorupa
The result, "Cave Rock: Climbers, Courts, and a Washoe Indian Sacred Place," (University of Nevada Press, $24.95 paperback) examines the court cases involved in the Washoe tribe's successful attempt to ban rock climbing at the South Shore site. It explains the vigorous arguments presented by the tribe, which considers the site a sacred and powerful place, and by the climbers, who had their own attachments to Cave Rock, ranging from a challenging place to climb to a place of spiritual serenity.
After two decades of debate and legal decisions, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling to ban rock climbing and other invasive activity at Cave Rock in 2007, based on its cultural, rather than religious, importance to the tribe. It was an outcome seldom experienced by American Indians in court.