I don't believe there is validity in climbing the DD at all. I'm not a professional photographer like you are just a keen amateur, but even I've worked out that if you want an aerial shot of a capstone you can use a pole. I do and it saves all the hassle and controversy.
Were the pictures of suitable quality?...It sounds very awkward (haphazard might be a better word but if it got you everything you required good on you)..and at the same time quite an ingenious method of getting the results you want without offending anybody and staying true to your own ethics.
Yes excellent quality as are the videos I take as well. I have a pole that extends to 20ft which I can attach my HD camcorder and my 16MP digital camera to with the digi camera on a timer. Both are so light you don't even know you have them. On the top of the pole is a swivel link that you can screw down to set your camera at a suitable angle. Drawbacks...forget it when it's windy with regard to the stills. You still get the picture but maybe not exactly where you wanted it. And be prepared for some strange looks :-)