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December 18, 2013

Top 10 Climbing Access Victories of 2013

As the New Year approaches, we invite you to look back with us on some important climbing access victories from 2013. This work, and much more, was made possible by thousands of members, volunteers, and climbing advocates across the country. Thank you for your amazing support throughout the year!

  1. Access preserved at 163 climbing areas across the country, working in partnership with local climbing organizations, volunteers, activists, and land managers. *See below for a full list.
  2. Conservation Team stewards 28 climbing areas, across 22 states, engaging 786 volunteers on their 10 month tour to sustain our nation’s climbing areas. The team also built 13,200 feet of new trail, closed 3,000 feet of social trails, built 20 stone staircases, installed 45 drainage ditches, cleaned 5 cliffs of graffiti, built 16 retaining walls, and cleared 9 areas of trash.
  3. Miller Fork climbing area purchased in partnership with Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition, protecting 309 acres and creating a brand new climbing destination in the Red.
  4. 1 million dollars in grant funding has been put back into local climbing communities through the Climbing Preservation Grants Program since 1991.
  5. NPS legitimizes wilderness climbing with the release of Director’s Order #41, which clarifies the agency’s policy for the management of Wilderness climbing, including the placement, removal, and replacement of fixed anchors. This has been a 20 year effort by Access Fund.
  6. 9 climbing areas opened across the country, including Summit Rock in California; Gold Butte in Colorado, Sandstone in Minnesota, Miller Fork in Kentucky, Jamestown in Arkansas, Signal Mountain in Tennessee; and Torne Valley, Thacher State Park, and Dicke Barre in New York.
  7. 170 hours furthering climber interests in Washington, DC through the Access Fund Climbing Policy & Advocacy program, which works to protect climbing access on our nation’s public lands by educating law makers and keeping climbers’ interests front and center.
  8. First-ever Educate for Access summit brought climbers, educators, gym owners, and athletes together to form strategy around reaching young climbers and helping them become the next generation of climbing area stewards.
  9. Oak Flat legislation defeated again—the 13th defeat of the land exchange that would trade away the popular Oak Flat, AZ climbing area to a mining company, destroying it.
  10. 7 new Local Climbing Organizations formed in California, Arizona, Wyoming, Missouri, and Ohio that will work to keep local climbing areas open and protected.

These victories, and many more, were made possible because of YOUR support.

Please consider making a special, tax deductible, end-of-year donation to the Access Fund. Your contribution will help us continue to expand the work of the Access Fund and protect America’s climbing into 2014 and beyond.

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Did you know that Access Fund recently received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator? Learn more.

*Acadia National Park, ME; Alapocas Run State Park, DE; Allenspur, MT; Arrow Canyon, NV; Asheboro Boulders, NC; Auburn Quarry, CA; Beacon Rock, WA; Big Rock, CA; Big South Fork, TN/KY; Bishop/Buttermilks, CA; Black Rock, HI; Black Wall, CA; Blue Ridge Parkway, NC; Blue Rock, WV; Boulder Canyon, CO; Bubba City, WV; Callahan, OR; Capitol Reef, UT; Castle Crags, CA; Castle Rock, WA; Castle Rocks BLM, ID; Cedar Mountain, WY; Chapel Ledges, MA; Childbirth, CO; Chimney Rock State Park, NC; Chippewa Creek, OH; Christmas Tree Pass, NV; Clear Creek, CO; Clifton Crags, ME; Coll's Cove, PA; Contender Wall, CO; Curt Gowdy State Park, WY; Cuyahoga National Park, OH; Daniel Boone National Forest, KY; Deep Creek, TN; Denny Cove, TN; Dicke Barre, NY; Dierkes, ID; Dominguez-Escalante, CO; Echo Cliffs, CA; Eldorado State Park, CO; Emigrant Lake, OR; Enchanted Rock, TX; Equinox, WA; Farley Ledge, MA; Flagstaff, AZ; Foster Falls, TN; Garth Rocks, UT; Gold Butte, CO; Goldbar, WA; Golden Cliffs, CO; Governor Stables, PA; Grand Teton National Park, WY; Granite Dells, AZ; Grayson Highlands State Park, VA; Gunks, NY; Handley Rock, CA; Hawksbill, NC; Haycock Mt, PA; High Point, TN; Holy Boulders, IL; Homestead, AZ; Horseshoe Canyon, AR; Horsetooth, CO; Hospital Boulders, AL; Hueco, TX; Ice Cream Parlor, UT; Icicle Creek, WA; Ilchester, MD; Index, WA; Indian Creek, UT; Inyo National Forest, CA; Jailhouse, CA; Jamestown, AR; Joe's Valley, UT; Johnny & Alex, Red River Gorge, KY; Joshua Tree National Park, CA; Kootenai Canyon, MT; Lake Tahoe, NV/CA; Leda, TN; Little Presque Isle, MI; Lory State Park, CO; Lovers Leap, CA; Manchester Wall, VA; Meadow River, WV; Menagerie, OR; Miller Fork, KY; Mississippi Palisades, MS; Moe's Valley, UT; Mt Baker Snoqualmie, WA; Mt Rushmore, SD; Mt. Charleston, NV; Mt. Lemmon/Cochise, AZ; Muir Valley, KY; Needles, CA; North Cascades National Park, WA; North Fork Valley, WV; North Table Mountain, CO; Northern Idaho crag, ID; Oak Flat, AZ; Obed, TN; Olympics, WA; Ouray Ice Park, NV; Painted Bluff, AL; Palisades Park, AL; Palisades, SD; Pere Marquette, IL; Pictured Rocks, IA; Pinnacles National Park, CA; Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest, NC; Pocatello, ID; Pool Wall, CO; Poudre Canyon, CO; Quartz Mt, OK; Ragged Mountain, CT; Red River Gorge Crag, KY; Red Rocks, NV; Rock Woods, MO; Rumbling Bald, NC; Rumney, NH; Ruth Lake, UT; San Juan Mountains, CO; Sand Rock, AL; Sandstone, MN; Seismic Wall, TX; Sequioa National Forest, CA; Sequioa National Park, CA; Shenandoah National Park, VA; Sierra National Forest, CA; Signal Mountain, TN; Sinks Canyon State Park, WY; Skeletal Remains, SD; Skylight Ouray, CO; Society Turn, CO; Sourlands, NJ; South Platte, CO; Steele, AL; Stone Fort/Little Rock City, TN; Summit Rock, CA; Sunset/Chickmauga National Historic Park, TN; Swan Falls, ID; Taylor Falls, MN; Tensleep, WY; Thacher State Park, NY; The Little Crag, CO; Thunder Ridge, CO; Torn Valley, NY; Unaweep Canyon, CO; Vantage, WA; West Rock, CT; Wet Mountain, CO; Whippoorwill, NRG, WV; Whipps Ledges, OH; Whistler Canyon, WA; White Rocks, VA; Whitsides, NC; Wichita Wildlife Refuge, OK; Williamson River Cliffs, OR; Yosemite National Park, CA; Zion National Park, UT; and two climbing areas that must remain confidential at this time.


December 11, 2013

Educate for Access

It’s probably safe to assume that at one point or another you’ve arrived at a climbing area and found music blaring, bits of tape on the ground, tick marks, social trails all over the place, or a group of 15 climbers taking up an entire area with their gear thrown about. More and more, we’ve been hearing the same sentiments: “What’s going on at our climbing areas?” and “What does the Access Fund plan to do about climber education?”


Climber education is a broad topic--covering safety, route development, stewardship, and etiquette. Education, especially stewardship and etiquette, has always been a core part of our mission--we’ve been producing and distributing materials for over 20 years. However, with the needs of the climbing community growing, we knew it was time for us to step up. We took a huge step forward at our 2-day Educate for Access summit this past November in the Gunks. The summit clearly brought to light that climber education needs focused, relevant, regionally specific and nationally recognized leadership.


Ed summit 1

We had 46 influencers from across the nation join the conversation, including climbing gym owners, land managers, professional guides, leaders from local climbing organizations, education professionals, and even a few pro-climbers. Gathered together under the same roof, we shared presentations on the current conditions at our climbing areas, who the current climbing population really is, where they are coming from, what it actually means to modify someone’s behavior, and the types of education techniques currently in use.


Ed summit 4


With 12 informative presentations, over two days, it’s easy to see some commonalities and strong themes repeat themselves. With the ever-growing industry and popularity of indoor climbing, gyms are an ideal space to reach more climbers; climbing gyms are the common link almost all climbers share. The Access Fund sees indoor facilities as a great starting point for education, and we will work to strengthen relationships between climbing gyms, local climbing organizations, and land managers, as well as develop specific messages for transitioning climbers.


Ed summit 2


The explosion in climbing facilities is a crucial link in the education chain, as young and impressionable climbers will play a crucial role in keeping our climbing areas open and preserving the climbing environment in the future. Climbers, spanning the ages of 11-25, possess the greatest potential for positive change. Not only do these climbers crave social acceptance, but they also crave leadership and structured messages. If they begin to hear about the “right” behaviors now, they’ll want to carry them into the future. Dialogue throughout the summit highlighted the simple fact that younger climbers want to do the right thing, they just haven’t been told or experienced what that is.


The Educate for Access summit was only the first step in addressing new educational needs that can improve stewardship and protection of our climbing areas. The summit gave us a much better understanding of the challenges and opportunities, and connected us to a greater community of partners who are facing the same challenges and are passionate about finding solutions. In the coming months, we’ll be rolling out new tactics to grow and strengthen our education programs.

Take a look at this article from our friends at Rock and Ice for more information on the changing demographics of climbers in the US.

Ed summit 3