Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Reed College of Media


Reed College of Media

Committee Chair

Bob Britten

Committee Co-Chair

Lois Raimondo

Committee Member

Janet Snyder

Committee Member

John Temple


This thesis examines written texts in summit logs by rock climbers at the peak of Baboquivari, located in southern Arizona. After scaling the mountain, rock climbers complete the ritual of documenting their success in a log located on the summit. Guided by the concepts of sense of place and ritual communication, this study investigated discourses articulated in summit logs in order to understand how rock climbers construct their sense of place for a contested landscape.;Baboquivari is the cosmological home of the Tohono O'odham and their creator I'itoi is believed to reside on the peak today. A good portion of Baboquivari is not located on Tohono O'odham lands, but on land overseen by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. In 1998, the Tohono O'odham put forth a bill in order to regain ownership of the entire peak and rock climbers may have lost access to a premier climbing destination.;Utilizing a grounded theory approach, summit logs between April 1998 to April 1999 are analyzed to identify the construction of meaning of this contested place. The data was organized in categories of response: cultivation, celebration, and experience, culminating in a core category of stewardship. Stewardship presents both a strong sense of the right to be on Baboquivari and a commitment to the care and maintenance of the landscape and community for the purposes of rock climbing activities. The data further suggests that through both their practice and beliefs, rock climbers perceive a feeling of belonging or an insider status within a sacred space.