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December 08, 2015

Top 10 Climbing Access Victories of 2015

We often get asked "what do I get for my annual membership?" It's a great question and one that we love answering. While there are a few fun perks of membership (like discounts), the true benefit of membership is open and conserved climbing areas. 

The Access Fund is proud to put over 80 cents of every membership dollar directly toward keeping climbing areas open and conserved through six core programs: climbing policy & advocacy, land acquisition & protection, stewardship & conservation, risk management & landowner support, local support & mobilization, and education

Here are just a handful of victories that we're proud to announce this year, in partnership with local climbing organizations and partners across the nation.  

2015 Top 10 Climbing Access Victories (1)

Your support makes this work possible! Please consider joining, renewing, or making an additional gift today. Thanks to our partners at Sea to Summit we are happy to offer a FREE Ultra-Sil Day Pack to the first 100 people to join, renew, or make a gift over $35 this week! Enter Promo Code SEA100 at checkout.

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Dive Deeper

  1. Access preserved at 229 climbing areas across the nation. See the full list!
  2. $10,000 awarded for bolt replacement through our new Anchor Replacement Fund, in collaboration with the American Alpine Club.
  3. 765 Acres of climbing acquired for long-term protection.
  4. Donner Summit Saved!
  5. ROCK Project leads climber education movement, engaging thousands of climbers in multi-day events in San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Denver, New York City, Seattle, and Atlanta. 
  6. Access to The Homestead secured.
  7. Conservation Team stewards 33 climbing areas across 24 states, engaging 1,050 volunteers along the way.
  8. 32,535 volunteer hours caring for climbing areas through the Adopt a Crag program.
  9. 163 hours advocating for climbers’ interests in Washington, DC.
  10. Access Fund named first-ever accredited land trust for climbing areas


December 02, 2015


20150511-CVB-26Indian Creek. Hueco Tanks. Joshua Tree. Red Rocks. Joe’s Valley. The desert environment is home to iconic climbing destinations. Characterized by little precipitation and sparse populations, the stark landscape of the desert is uniquely fragile and full of life. As such, the desert environment demands some specific minimum- impact practices to protect its sensitive and historically significant terrain.

As you are planning your next desert adventure to climb splitter cracks and towers or wrestle beautifully shaped and colored boulders, keep these six things in mind.

  1. Cryptobiotic soil, or living biological crust, can be destroyed with a single step. This dark, crumbly looking soil is a living crust that plays an important ecological role in many desert environments by drawing nutrients into the soil while protecting it from erosion by wind and rain. Stay on established trails and durable, low-impact corridors to avoid crushing this delicate crust, which can take decades to regenerate.
  2. Desert soil lacks the microorganisms to biodegrade human waste. Use facilities where available or pack out your poop. We recommend the RESTOP bag, which is easy to use and seals the stink.
  3. The desert is home to sites of cultural and historical significance. Look, but don’t touch. Not only does the Archaeological Resources Protection Act make it a federal crime to steal or destroy artifacts, but the oils on our fingers, the chalk on our hands, and the rubber on our shoes can ruin these resources. Access Fund works with land management agencies to ensure a balanced approach to protecting culturally significant resources, such as petroglyphs and Native American sacred sites, and maintaining climbing access. Respect all closures.
  4. Climbing on wet sandstone can forever alter the rock and cause gear placements to fail. Always wait 24–48 hours after a rain to climb on sandstone to avoid damaging the rock and risking weak gear placements.
  5. Plant communities are highly sensitive and stressed. Searing heat, low water, and high winds regularly abuse desert plants. Pay careful attention to gear sprawl, pad placement, and off-trail travel to avoid additional challenges for these special plants.
  6. Horsehair brushes are best for cleaning chalk and debris from sandstone. Use one to avoid damaging the porous rock surface. 

Photo courtesy of ©Whit Richardson