Human Waste Management on the Whitney Trail, CA
By Garry Oye, District Ranger, White Mountain & Mount Whitney Ranger Districts Inyo National Forest.
In 1873 John Muir climbed Mount Whitney. Over 100 years later, the Whitney Trail cuts through a place we now call the John Muir Wilderness. It has become one of the most popular wildernesses in the National Wilderness Preservation System. Each year 16,000 people attempt to climb and summit Mt. Whitney at an elevation of 14,497 feet above sea level.
With all of these climbers comes the challenge of what to do with their human waste. Toilets have been in place along the trail since the 1960s. Despite several renovations and retro-fits, the dehydrating toilets never functioned very well. A helicopter was needed to fly 4,000 pounds of human waste out each year. Helicopters and toilet buildings compromise the areas wilderness character.
In 2004, a voluntary pack-out program was instituted. Climbers were asked to pack their human waste to Whitney Portal Trailhead using pack-out kits.
In 2006, Whitney climbers voluntarily packed 3,600 pounds of their human waste out to the trailhead. With the success of this pack out program, there is now a safe and sanitary way for each individual to deal with their own human waste.
In late November of this year Forest Service rangers removed the toilet at Outpost Camp. Earlier in the summer, Park Service rangers removed the toilet near the summit. Forest Service rangers plan to remove the Trail Camp toilet in 2007 and require all climbers to pack their waste to the trailhead.
I want to thank the Whitney climbers and rangers for helping find a solution to the human waste challenge. I think we now have a system that is workable for today as well as into the future, said District Ranger Garry Oye.
For more information please contact Garry Oye at (760) 873-2464.
Editors note: the success of the Indian Creek Wag Bag Movementstarted by the Access Fund and continues to be managed by the AF Affiliate, Friends of Indian Creekincludes self serve distribution of human waste bags at kiosks around the park.
This program is applicable across the nation at various climbing areas. For more information, contact Jason Keith, Access Fund Policy Director at Jason@accessfund.org.
The Access Fund encourages the use of human waste bags when toilets are not available. They are a sanitary, no mess, no smell solution that are easy to use and pack out.
AF Corporate Partner RESTOP manufactures the bags and sells them online www.restop.com. Metolius, Mountain Gear, and REI also carry similar human waste systems.
Nelson Rocks, WV
By Thomson Ling, AF Regional Coordinator
For those in the DC area interested in the discussing the recent real estate listing of Nelson Rocks, WV please attend a meeting from 5-7pm on Saturday, January 27th. The local REI at Bailey's Crossroads (3509 Carlin Springs Rd Bailey's Crossroads, VA 22041) has generously offered to donate a room. The agenda is to discuss potential options to ensure that Nelson Rocks moves to climber-friendly hands.
Different tools that can be used to preserve climbing areas in perpetuity
The pros and cons of fee simple acquisition
Liability of owning, managing, or holding an easement on land
Fundraising and how other groups have done it
Partnerships that have worked in the past for AF and local climbing orgs.
Nelson Rocks is an amazing place with lots of great climbing history and lots of really good climbing on solid stone, some of the best in the area. It is one of several large eruptions (southern most) of Tuscarora sandstone out of a long ridge that runs over 30 miles north towards Petersburg, WV.
For information please contact Thomson Ling at: email@example.com
North Idaho Report
By Rex Mundo
2007 promises to be a busy year with great challenges and opportunities. The Kootenai Klimbers and the North Idaho College outdoor pursuits program continue with the Adopt-A-Crag effort. The success of this work has revealed to the City of Post Falls the climbing community's positive impact on conservation, preservation, environmental awareness and the all-important tourist dollar. The timing is excellent because the city has acquired 60 acres of additional parkland on the river that has great potential for bouldering and mountain biking. There is also a route-free wall of beautiful granite.
There is also another city property of approximately 20 acres that the city is developing into parkland. It is an environmental oasis right downtown that goes to the river. Rusty Baillie, myself and a city park representative toured the area and found a primo bouldering wall over 300 feet long with near-perfect landing all along the base with easy topout from 10-18 ft. More about this later.
We also are continuing our on-going discussions with Avista Power Company to allow continued use of climbing/bouldering areas on Avista property adjacent to the dam/Q'Emiln Park climbing area. The dam is currently going thru the relicensing process. Once the license is renewed, they'll have it for 30-50 years and access issues may arise.
As Rusty Baillie stated in past reports, possibly the best wall in the area is just out of the boundary of Q'Emiln Park. The Klimbers are working with the city and others in the Spokane Climbing community to acquire this valuable resource before it's gone.
Off-trail permits for Climbing in Boulder, CO
By Tom Isaacson, President Flatirons Climbers Coalition
Effective February 1, 2007, climbers will need a permit to reach certain boulders and crags with the City of Boulder's Open Space. The effected areas are: Cryptic Crag, Adam's Spire, all of the Metaphysical boulders, and certain boulders west of the Sacred Cliffs.
Other restrictions will also apply to climbers. To get more information visit www.FlatironsClimbing.com or www.openspace.ci.boulder.co.us
Applications for off-trail permits, which are good for one day, may be obtained through the above open space website or at the Chautauqua Ranger Cottage. Further details on the rules will become available soon, as will possible changes to the areas requiring a permit. Please cooperate with this program and encourage others to do so.
The permits are free. Getting caught without one is a $100 per person fine. Also, it is important to show the land managers that climbers will observe the existing rules and that harsher rules are not needed. Additional rules also apply to hiking to non-climbing destinations and walking with your dog off-trail. You can post questions on the Flatirons Climbing website.
Skaha Bluffs Access Closure, BC
Skaha Bluffs are a very popular group of crags near Penticton in southern B.C. (www.skaha.org). For many years, climbers have depended on the kindness of the Dunlop family, owner of Braesyde Farms, for the only access to Skaha. Braesyde is being sold in April 2007.
Parking at Braesyde, and access to Skaha from there, is now closed. All possible alternatives for parking and access involve acquisition or at least use of private land. Considerable money is likely to be needed to implement any alternative.
Skaha rockclimbers are working hard on finding a solution, with the effort being led by The Land Conservancy of B.C. (TLC - www.conservancy.bc.ca), and support from Mountain Equipment Co-op (www.mec.ca), the Climbers Access Society of B.C. (CASBC - www.access-society.ca), and others. A task force including climbers, representatives from the city and the province, TLC, and other interested parties has been formed.
It is hoped that there will be at least a short-term solution for spring 2007, although a permanent solution may take longer.
In the meantime, keep informed, and pass the news on to your friends. Be patient - it's possible that a solution won't quite be in place by the start of the spring climbing season. When or if there's a need to write letters and e-mails, make phone calls, or attend meetings, it'll be publicized at www.skahabluffs.blog.com
See www.skahabluffs.blog.com for full information and updates.
Williamson Rock, CA Closure Update
By Troy Mayr, Access Fund Board of Directors, President Friends of Williamson Rock.
The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is preparing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the USFS and FoWR. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) is a document describing a bilateral agreement between parties. It expresses a convergence of will between the parties, indicating an intended common line of action, rather than a legal commitment.
Friends of Williamson Rock (FoWR) will present the USFS a draft scoping letter pursuant to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This letter will describe the proposed action regarding the preparation of an Environmental Assessment (EA) on the long-term management of Williamson Rock and the potential for reopening access to climbing activities. The following proposed alternatives shall be included:
Dry Season Only Access (No flowing water in stream) - Preferred alternative includes monitoring and maintenance, enforcement of seasonal closure, signage, human waste management and parking controls.
Restricted activity under limited conditions
No project alternative - Return to conditions prior to closure (not a viable option)
The no project alternative is included in the document to serve as a baseline for other alternatives and is required of all NEPA documents. In the EA, the potential impacts for each alternative must be analyzed. The no project alternative states what the condition or environmental impacts would be in the event the proposed project is not carried out.
The scoping process will include an internal USFS review followed by a 30-day public scoping period.
As previously stated, the process is required to allow the potential re-opening of Williamson Rock, which has been closed to public access due to designation of critical habitat for the mountain yellow legged frog. Throughout the course of this lengthy NEPA and Endangered Species Act consultation ongoing closure of Williamson Rock should be anticipated and the climbing community should actively discourage its use to maintain current agency/FoWR relations.
FoWR expects this process to result in ongoing dialog with the USFS, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the general public - resulting in a plan that meets the needs of all concerned within the parameters of NEPA, Forest Service Guidelines and the Federal Endangered Species Act. This will also further the intent of FoWR to move forward with the NEPA process and maintain cooperative relations with the U.S. Forest Service as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
We strongly encourage you to join the FoWR mailing list by visiting www.williamsonrock.org
Your Voice Needed To Keep Madrone Wall Project Moving Forward, OR
By Keith K. Daellenbach, Madrone Wall Preservation Committee
In January, 2006 the Board of County Commissioners unanimously accepted the Clackamas County Parks Advisory Board (PAB) recommendations that the Hardscrabble property (a.k.a. Madrone Wall) become part of the Clackamas River Watershed Protection and not be sold to a private interest or mined. At Decembers PAB meeting, a list of park planning items was distributed and this will be evaluated and re-prioritized at the January and February PAB meetings. On this list under General Parks - Miscellaneous was an itemization of $40,000 for parks master planning at Hardscrabble.
At the 16 January and 20 February 2007 PAB meetings, park planning items in the five year parks plan will be re-evaluated and re-prioritized. Please take this opportunity to register your support for this park creation project by contacting the Board of County Commissioners firstname.lastname@example.org and urge them to take the next stepparks master planning for the Hardscrabble/Madrone Wall site located 2.2 miles east of Carver along County Scenic Highway 224. Please continue to respect Clackamas Countys No Trespassing posting at the Madrone Wall.
Updates are regularly posted on our www.savemadrone.org website.
Access NJ Update
By John Anderson, President
Access NJ website has been down for the past 2-3 months and we apologize for the inconvenience. Please be patient and if you are interested in donating web skills to update and improve the site (www.climbnj.com) please contact John Anderson at email@example.com. Please note that this is also the new general email address for Access NJ.
Access NJ continues discussions with staff and administration of Hunterdon County Park System over the last 3 months. We are seeking volunteers to present further information. Access NJs goal is to have the climbing community adopt (per Hunterdon County's own, new, regulations) the Sourland Bouldering Site. Contact John Anderson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Boone Climbers Coalition Update NC
By Anthony Love, President
The Boone Climbers Coalition (BCC) had another active fall and winter season. We have re-strengthened our relationship with the National Park Service, our Access Fund Board Members and officers, and most importantly our membership.
One of the BCC members, Zachary Lesch-Huie, offered us a unique opportunity to work with the American Chestnut Foundation and the Blue Ridge Parkway to help a project to restore chestnut tree populations. American Chestnut Foundation scientist, Paul Cisco worked with BCC members to collect burrs, which contain Chestnut seeds, from trees along the Blue Ridge Parkway and on Grandmother Mountain. The seeds collected during this project will be used to develop a hybrid strain on chestnut tree that resists the chestnut blight, a disease that is responsible for nearly wiping out this species. The American Chestnut Foundation will reintroduce these hybrids in areas throughout the US in an effort to restore chestnut tree populations.
This year the BCC hosted their annual Adopt-a-Crag event at Hawksbill within the Linville Gorge Wilderness. The trail to approach Hawksbill follows a steep grade that is constantly under attack from erosion. Twelve members helped build water bars on the existing trail and brush-in sections of spider trails up to the main cliffs at Hawksbill.
Shortly after the Adopt-a-Crag, the BCC had another record turn-out for their third annual Sudz and Slidez event at the Black Cat Burrito. The Sudz and Slidez events have been the most effective way to get members of our community together. These events have been great venues for our meetings and fundraisers. This fall, we were lucky enough to have Access Fund Ambassador Jason Kehl give a presentation. Jason entertained a crowd of 115 people with a slideshow from his most recent trip to Japan. Jason and our many sponsors made this another incredibly successful and fun event for everyone.
News from the Blue Ridge Parkway: The BCC provided comments to a newly proposed plan to develop a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway known as the Moses Cone Memorial Park. The Blowing Rock Boulders lie within the Moses Cone Memorial Park. This plan provides for the enhancement of cultural learning in the park, but also offered closure of this important climbing resource as one alternative they could consider. While some of the proposed alternatives do pose threats to the Blowing Rock Boulders, there are also other alternatives that offer the enhancement of trails into the boulderfield and continuation of bouldering activity.
The Park Service has sought public input to this plan and the BCC has been adamant about getting the local and regional climbing community to provide this necessary input. We look forward to seeing what the next round of planning produces and feel confident a balanced plan that includes climbing can be achieved.
In other news, members of the BCC were invited to attend the Annual Board Meeting of the Access Fund this fall in Lake Lure North Carolina. The experience proved once again to be valuable and educational for all involved. The opportunity to sit down and talk face to face with the board and staff is a great asset for both the BCC as well as the Carolina Climbers Coalition who were generous enough to host us.
For more info about the Boone Climbers Coalition and to join our email list, please visit www.ncbouldering.com/BCC.htm
Carolina Climbers Coalition, NC Update
By Anthony Love, CCC Vice President
Last year was a grand one for the CCC. Some of our accomplishments include: assisting in the inclusion of Rumbling Bald into Hickory Nut State Park (a new North Carolina state park), purchasing 50 acres, (which includes Laurel Knob the highest rock face in the eastern United States) and, opening Laurel Knob for public climbing. Funds for the purchase came through worldwide donations, contributions from the outdoor industry, and the financial and resource support of the Access Fund.
All this activity was primarily due to the efforts of John Myers and Sean Cobourn. John is a former board member of the Access Fund and a significant contributor to the Laurel Knob Project. Sean Cobourn, a founding Director of the Access Fund and current AF Regional Coordinator, boldly led the CCC into a new era as an organization, planned and facilitated the acquisition of the legendary Laurel Knob. Seans motivation, drive and vision transformed the CCC from a small grassroots organization into a visible and respected climbing non-profit organization. As a tribute, the Access Fund awarded Sean the prestigious Menocal Lifetime Achievement Award as testament to his climbing advocacy. The CCC is especially indebted to the incredible efforts and accomplishments of John Myers and Sean Cobourn.
The CCC held officer elections at our annual meeting during the Hound Ears event of the Triple Crown Bouldering Competition. CCC officers include Sean Barb, President; Anthony Love, Vice President; Edward Medina, Secretary; and Aram Attarian, treasurer. In addition the new officers have appointed a board to oversee and provide support in business matters. The new officers are excited about the challenges and opportunities on the road ahead.
The new officers hit the ground running with the creation of a Climbing Management Plan for Laurel Knob (for more info please visit www.carolinaclimbers.org), implementation of a new system to manage membership, and their continued efforts to open the Asheboro Boulders to climbers.
Once again, I am proud to say Laurel Knob is OPEN! The CCC has a comprehensive management plan in its FINAL stages of revision and implementation. During this time and since its opening, the CCC has come up with a general set of guidelines for public use at Laurel Knob. These are posted at Laurel Knob on the climbers kiosk, and on the CCC website (www.carolinaclimbers.org). We encourage all climbers to visit and enjoy this incredible resource, but would like to remind all to please respect the guidelines created for its use.
Closure Threat Becomes Reality at Torrent Falls, KY
By Bill Strachan, Executive Director Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition
In response to continued disrespectful behavior by some climbers, the owners of Torrent Falls, a popular Red River Gorge crag, have decided to close the area to unrestricted climbing.
Guests renting a cabin at Torrent Falls resort may still climb on the property. This closure was announced and made effective on Friday, November 24, 2006.
When the closure was first threatened earlier this spring, the RRGCC convinced the owners to write a set of rules and give climbers a chance to show that they could follow them. Unfortunately not all climbers were following the rules.
Recent flagrant incidents cited by the owners in explaining their reasons for moving forward with the closure included someone who leashed their dog to a No Dogs Allowed sign. Another disturbing incident occurred when the owners were showing close friends around their property and came across a woman urinating out in the open despite the fact that the owners have provided a port-o-let for use by climbers.
In addition to the Torrent rules having been posted in the parking area as well as the RRGCC kiosk at Miguels, the rules and the tenuous situation at Torrent was made widely known to the climbing community on various websites, in the Access Fund e-news, and in the RRGCC newsletter.
All indications are that 2006 was the busiest season yet for the Red River Gorge. While the RRGCC will look at ways to improve climber education about access issues during its planning for 2007, we are somewhat at a loss as to how to deal with climbers who blatantly disregarded very simple and common sense behavioral guidelines that could have kept Torrent open.
We ask that climbers please respect the tough decision made by Mark and Kathy Meyer to discontinue open climbing access at Torrent. Also please remember that disrespectful behavior and failure to follow rules at any climbing area in Red River Gorge, whether on private or public land, has the potential to negatively affect access.
Know whose property you are climbing on and what is expected of you as a guest on that property. Detailed information on the various areas and guidelines are readily available in Ray Ellingtons Red River Gorge guidebook.
Kootenai Klimbers Update, ID
By Rusty Baille, President
The Kootenai Klimbers are strategizing on how to open up Outlaw Wall near Post Falls, Idaho. This is the finest cliff in our area with 100 hundred feet of solid granite-gneiss climbing but, alas, it sits on private land. There are several semi-completed routes on The Outlaw and early climbers had tacit permission to climb here. With an increase in climbing pressure, and most local landowners rushing to develop their holdings into housing estates, we need to speak now - or forever lose this great crag.
In the Spring of 2007 we will form a group to work on access. This group will be led by one of the climbing activists who did such an impressive job of acquiring Big Rock part of the Rocks of Sharon, just south of Spokane WA.
Our second initiative is to clean up and legitimize our boulders. This project is being inspired by Jason Baker who grew up around here and knows all the secret spots. If theres a chalk smear on an impossible hold way up there, especially if the landing is interesting, its probably his!
Bouldering in the Pacific Northwest is rather like organic gardening. Whoever said that mosses and lichens take thousands of years to grow should check out our local varieties! While such biotica could perhaps help rehabilitate more stricken ecosystems, it makes rocksports here impossibly slimy. The solution (hopefully) is to work closely with the land managers to designate key areas as biological preserves and viewsites while identifying good bouldering that can be reasonably and legitimately cleaned for climbing. Maybe then I can get my moneys worth from my new super-thick, super-wide bouldering pad!
Legendary N. Texas Rock Climber and Environmental Advocate, Jimmy Ray Forester, Dies in Fall at 43
By Ryan Ray, Access Fund Regional Coordinator
The rock climbing community lost a legendary climber and environmental advocate on November 24 when Jimmy Ray Forester fell while climbing in El Potrero Chico in northern Mexico.
Forester, an experienced, talented and well-known climber, failed to return to camp after a climb on El Potrero Chico's "The scariest ride in the park", a 55-pitch 5.9 ridge route. When he didn't return after the early-morning climb, an attempt was made to view his progress with binoculars, and when unsuccessful, a search was initiated. He was found the next day at the base of the wall.
"Jimmy was an intelligent and super strong climber," said Ryan Ray, a Forester climbing partner. "He never put himself, or anyone else, in danger. This climb was well within his capabilities, so we can only speculate what might have happened. It could have been rockfall or a handhold that gave way."
Forester became an iconic figure throughout Oklahoma and Texas during his 17 years in the sport. He established his own characteristically ground-up, onsight style and was endued with a deep sense of climbing history and tradition that energized other climbers. According to his friends, he was also a consummate climbing teacher and mentor.
"Jimmy was the kind of guy who cared more about the climbing community than he did himself," said Ray. "He climbed and established new routes so that others would have quality places to climb. Every time he placed a new bolt, he would always think about the next climber who would have to use it."
When he wasn't climbing, Forester was dedicated to protecting climbing resources and was an environmental activist. He served on the Board of Directors of the Wichita Mountains Climbing Coalition and the Central Texas Climbing Committee and was a strong supporter for the Access Fund, the only national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment.
"Jimmy worked to preserve the historic ethics of climbing as well as protecting the climbing resources in the North Texas and Oklahoma," said Ray. "He wanted to make sure that future generations of climbers had the same resources that we have today."
On his numerous climbs, Forester compiled hundreds of pages of route and historic data for a series of guide/history books that he planned to publish for the climbing community. "He spent countless hours developing guide book information and had one of the most complete and comprehensive collections of information on Texas and Oklahoma climbing that has probably ever been written," says Ray.
Forester leaves behind one daughter, Riley, age 4. To learn about memorial fund that has been set up in her name go to FriendsofForester.com. "Jimmy was the kind of dad who wanted to see his daughter have a great life," says Ray. "He worked hard for her, and always gave her the best that he could. Setting up the fund was one way his many friends could support him."
A memorial website with updated information has been created at www.friendsofforester.com
To make a donation benefiting his daughter Rylie please visit any Chase Bank branch and deposit to "Friends of Forester"!
Donations can also be mailed to:
Friends of Forester
16831 Coit Road
Dallas, Texas 75248
For questions, contact the account officer, David Ploof at Chase Bank Dallas branch, 972-407-3415.
Record Rain Forces Closure of Mt. Rainier National Park, WA
Mount Rainier is a restless mountain. The roads, bridges, trails, and campgrounds we build are secondary to the elemental forces that created-and continue to transform-this landscape we love. Our great works of human enterprise will fade away with time. The mountain will endure.
For the first time since Mt. St. Helens blew its top, Mt. Rainier National Park closed its gates to the public due to a torrential November 5-6 storm that also caused extensive damage to other regional national parks and forests in the Pacific Northwest.
After nearly 18 inches of rain fell in 36 hours, massive flood damage forced the closure of Mount Rainier National Park when high water damaged a variety of park roads, trails, campgrounds, buildings and facilities. Many power, water and sewer lines were also demolished. The first big snowfall of the season hit a few days after the rain, and so a final damage assessment will have to wait until spring. Photographs of the flood damage can be viewed at www.nps.gov/mora/parknews/upload/floodPP.pdf (5MB).
Park officials closed the main park road from the Nisqually Entrance to Paradise (the center for winter mountaineering) and Highway 123 is also closed due to a rockslide. State Routes 410 & 123 and the Paul Peak/Mowich Lake areas are also closed at the park boundaries by winter conditions but remain open to normal, non-motorized winter activities such as hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Walk-in access is available to Carbon River area trailheads by parking at the entrance and hiking the designated rough route along the washed out road. For more information see www.nps.gov/mora/parknews/november-2006-flooding.htm#CP_JUMP_137497
The Park said repairs could cost an estimated $29.85 million, most of which will go towards road repairs. NPS staff will share information on decisions, timelines, and other factors affecting flood recovery. For information on these public meetings see www.nps.gov/mora/parknews/upload/CmmtyMeetings.doc. The park plans to expand its volunteer program next spring to assist with flood cleanup and trail reconstruction. Individuals who are interested in helping may contact Volunteer Program Manager Kevin Bacher at 360-569-2211 ext. 3385 or Kevin_Bacher@nps.gov. The Access Fund will be offering our assistance to Mount Rainier National Park regarding how the climbing community can help with park reconstruction. Stay tuned to the Access Fund Enews for updates on Mt. Rainier NP recovery efforts and how you can help out.
Southeastern Climbers Coalition pays off Boat Rock Mortgage ahead of Schedule, GA
By Chad Wiykle, Triple Crown Organizer
We wanted to share details on the finale of The Triple Crown Bouldering Series--by many accounts the Stone Fort/Little Rock City Competition was one of the best outdoor bouldering events ever! We actually kicked-off the weekend at Rock/Creek Outfitters on Friday December 1st at 7:30pm with a fantastic slideshow/movie presentation and poster signing delivered by Access Fund ambassador and Board member Tommy Caldwell and Beth Rodden. We had a great turnout for this presentation with over 150 people in attendance.
As for comp day, the weather was absolutely perfect--cobalt blue skies and temperatures in the low 50s made for ideal climbing conditions. Over 450 climbers and bouldering enthusiasts from thirty states and two countries were present at this competition, and over 1,200 participants were in attendance throughout the entire series.
The goal for this years series was to raise enough money for the Southeastern Climbers Coalition to gain permanent access and ownership of Boat Rock a unique granite boulderfield and green space located inside the metro of Atlanta, Ga. When we officially began the series in October, over $11,000 remained on the note for Boat Rock. Through the efforts of this event, our sponsors, and donations from climbers attending this series, we have achieved this goal.
Tollhouse Rock, CA
By Patrick Paul, Southern Sierra Climbers, Association
In recent months, a new landowner has put up a gate at the intersection of Tollhouse road and the unpaved access road which has been the traditional way to the top of Tollhouse Rock for climbers. Tollhouse features dozens of one to four pitch free climbs and has been a popular winter climbing area for locals from Fresno, Bakersfield and the greater Southern California area for decades and sits on public land.
Prior to installing the gate, the landowner had verbally accosted some climbers, threatened to have people arrested, or tried to intimidate climbers in other ways. The access road has been used for years by climbers, four-wheelers, hang-gliders, hunters, and youthful revelers from the nearby communities of Prather and Tollhouse. The landowner has complained that his guests' cars have been vandalized, people have been firing shotguns and rifles near his home, and that a great deal of trash has been strewn in the area.
Tollhouse Rock is on Forest Service land and the F.S. claims that only a small portion of the road is privately owned. However, at this time it is unclear whether the landowner has a legal right to block the road or whether the Forest Service can legally compel him to keep it open. At least two gates have been erected and then torn out by persons unknown. Climbers are advised to use the longer power line road that lies directly west of the private road until either legalities can be ascertained, or the landowner can be reasoned with and an agreement met.
Washington Climbers Coalition
By Jonah Harrison, Access Fund Regional Coordinator
The Washington Climbers Coalition (WCC), an Access Fund Affiliate, Reiter Trail Watch and state land managers have improved safety from objective hazards in Index, Washington. Reiter Trail Watch is a not for profit group of volunteers working to preserve, protect, increase awareness and maintain accessibility for all outdoor enthusiasts.
Index is a popular climbing area outside of Seattle, with hundreds of steep granite sport and traditional routes up to Grade IV in length. The area around Index is also very popular with off-road vehicle (ORV) enthusiasts. ORVs allow access to the top of the Upper Town Wall, a large wall perched on the mountainside outside the town of Index. In recent years, various objects have been thrown from the top (from beer bottles to car fenders) and there has been many close calls with climbers narrowly avoiding being hit.
Washington State Parks put up several signs at the top of the wall, warning of the danger to climbers below and threatening prosecution of those who throw objects off the wall, but these measures have proved ineffective.
During the past summer, Reiter Trail Watch and Washington State Parks devised a road termination plan involving placing a barricade that would prevent motorized access to the top of the wall. Recently, with a generous donation from the Washington Climbers Coalition, the Reiter Trail Watch installed a sturdy, permanent barrier in late October that will keep ORVs from accessing the top of the cliff. This reduces the risk that anyone will be able to drive to the top of the wall and throw objects down on climbers, and is a great example of meeting goals through cooperation between local recreation groups and government land managers.
Wisconsin Outdoor Access Update, WI
By Nick Rhoads, President
In 2007 WOA is looking to catalogue and define usage at all Wisconsin climbing areas. If you have any information about usage issues at a crag near you please send all info to Nick Rhoads at email@example.com
Latest News from NEVCA, VT
By Matthew Elliott, President
In time for the beginning of the ice climbing season, Northeastern Vermont Climber's Alliance has stocked the rescue cache near the south end of the ice routes on Mt. Pisgah. A second cache has been constructed, and will be installed in the Last Gentleman Ampitheater on December 16. Each cache contains a rescue backboard/sled and basic first aid supplies.
Funding for the project was provided by generous donations to an online fundraiser organized by Access Fund Regional Coordinator Richard Doucette; NEVCA volunteers built and installed the shelters, and will maintain them.
NEVCA would like to extend our thanks to everyone involved in the project, and wish a safe and happy ice climbing season to all!
Call for Applications to the ACE Board of Directors, CO
Action Committee for Eldorado (ACE ) has openings on its board of directors. Directors are elected to three-year terms. ACE is an Access Fund Affiliate non-profit organization dedicated to representing climbers' interests in Eldorado Canyon State Park and preserving the opportunity to climb and the diversity of the climbing experience in Eldorado. ACE supports conserving the natural resources and promoting responsible recreational use and land management in ECSP. Since its founding in 1993, ACE has raised and donated over $180,000 to Eldorado Canyon State Park in support of climbers' interests (especially the construction of climber access trails).
Board members are responsible for organization of Celebrate Eldorado and other climbing events that raise funds to promote ACE 's goals and for ECSP.
For more information, see the ACE website: www.aceeldo.org. The application form is available on-line at: www.aceeldo.org/support/ace_board_app.ph. The application deadline is December 1, 2006.
Thank you for your support of ACE and Eldorado State Park!
The ACE Board:
Action Committee For Eldorado