Dead Point Magazine to Host Poker Match in Support of Access Fund
On May 15th 2010, Dead Point Magazine will host the first annual Poker n’ Access fundraiser for the Access Fund during the 8th Annual New River Rendezvous. The New River Rendezvous is an annual fundraising event for the New River Alliance of Climbers, which takes place at the Burnwood Campground at the New River Gorge in West Virginia.
Dead Point Magazine would like to invite both individuals and companies to take part in the tournament. The minimum buy-in for a tournament seat is $250, with 100% of the proceeds benefitting the Access Fund. The winner will receive a check for 100% of the tournament earnings, written in their or their company’s name to the Access Fund.
Any company sending a representative to participate in the Poker n’ Access Texas Hold’em Tournament will have their company logo featured in a highlight video on Dead Point Magazine’s website (www.deadpointmag.com), the Access Fund’s website (www.accessfund.org), and distributed through various social media outlets.
For more information or to register, contact Megan Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org. Seats are limited, so please make sure to sign up as soon as possible. Confirmation must be made by March 31st 2010.
To reigster, contact:
Megan Phillips, Associate Editor
Dead Point Magazine
Half Dome Cable Permits Won't Affect Climbers
You may have recently caught wind of news that permits will soon be required to scale Half Dome in Yosemite National Park on weekends and holidays during peak summer months. This change only applies to people (i.e., hikers) ascending the cables on Half Dome. These permits do not affect climbers descending the cables or going up any other route on Half Dome.
For more informaiton, visit the National Park Service website.
2009 Adopt a Crag Wrap-up and Awards
The 10th anniversary of Adopt a Crag was our best year yet, with the number of volunteers and events growing 20% over the previous year! In total 6,752 volunteers contributed over 40,000 hours of work to help improve our crags. Each year, the Access Fund and its sponsors honor those organizers who went above and beyond. We are thrilled to present the 2009 Adopt a Crag awards to a worthy group of volunteers. We want to thank everyone who hosted or participated in an Adopt a Crag this year—your dedication and enthusiasm are what make this program a great success!
Adopt a Crag of the Year Award - Ian Caldwell and the Smith Rock Group
REI and the Access Fund are proud to present the 2009 Adopt a Crag of the Year Award to Ian Caldwell and the Smith Rock Group for their dedication in the conservation of Smith Rock State Park. The annual Smith Rock Spring Thing started 17 years ago, and this year was bigger than ever with over 165 volunteers at a single event. Together, they volunteered 1,100 hours and completed 15 different projects to improve Smith Rock. We look forward to what Ian and the Smith Rock Group are able to accomplish in 2010!
Conservation Award - Central Texas Mountaineers
GORE-TEX products and Access Fund are honored to present the 2009 Stewardship Award to the Central Texas Mountaineers (CTM). CTM logged over 8,500 volunteer hours on 17 Adopt a Crag projects this year, including Mt. Bonnell, Gus Fruh Park, and Reimers North Shore. Volunteers worked tirelessly building trails, removing poison ivy, trundling rocks and picking up trash. We are thrilled to see this level of dedication in conserving our climbing areas.
2009 Stewardship Award - Salt Lake Climbers Alliance
Clif Bar and the Access Fund are proud to present the 2009 Stewardship Award to Salt Lake Climbers Alliance (SLCA) for their dedication in restoring Ferguson Canyon. This year the Ferguson Canyon Adopt a Crag brought in over 100 volunteers who accomplished 7 different projects including trail maintenance, graffiti removal, and creation of belay platforms. We sincerely appreciate SLCA and all of its volunteers for their hours spent improving Ferguson Canyon.
A League of there Own Award - Ken Yager and the Yosemite Climbing Association
This year’s 2009 League of Their Own Award is presented to the unstoppable Ken Yager and the Yosemite Climbing Association for their dedication in organizing the Yosemite Facelift. This year’s Facelift brought in incredible statistics yet again: over 1,200 volunteers contributed over 16,000 volunteer hours to collecting trash on 120 miles on roadway and over 180 miles of trails. The volunteers collected a total of 60,437 pounds of trash! We are truly honored to recognize these remarkable efforts and are already looking forward to next year’s Facelift!
Cat Slab Protected!
The new year brings reason to celebrate for those of you who enjoy climbing in Clear Creek Canyon. After months of negotiation, Clear Creek County successfully acquired the 76-acre Oxbow Parcel that contains the Cat Slab cliff, located south of US Highway 6 near Tunnel 5.
Cat Slab boasts some of the only moderate routes in Clear Creek Canyon and was a popular crag to bring beginners before it was closed to the public in 2006 due to liability concerns.
The County purchased the land using $725,000 in lottery funds, awarded by Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO). The County was supported by numerous recreational groups, including the Access Fund, Colorado Mountain Club, Colorado Whitewater, Trout Unlimited, International Mountain Bicycling Association, and Rafting Outfitters on Clear Creek.
While the cliff line is protected, the area is not officially open to the public until the County develops and implements a site plan to provide safe, off-road parking, which may include shifting the guard rail and gate to provide more parking.
The County is interested in climber input on the development of parking, trails, and possible toilet facilities. Please contact Joe at the Access Fund, email@example.com, to get involved in the planning process.
Access Fund Announces 2009 Sharp End Awards
The Access Fund announced today the winners of its 2009 Sharp End Awards. Each year the Access Fund recognizes individuals and businesses that go above and beyond to volunteer their time and efforts to preserving climbing access and the climbing environment. These recipients stand out in their commitment to the American climbing community, and the Access Fund is honored to present this year's awards to a worthy group of volunteers and activists. Please join us in congratulating them!
Bebie Leadership Award – Anthony Love
We are proud to recognize Anthony Love as America’s outstanding activist for the cause of preserving climbing access and the climbing environment. Anthony has illustrated his leadership with the recent acquisition of the Rumbling Bald West Side Boulders in North Carolina and has been instrumental in climbing management planning for Laurel Knob and continued access to the privately owned Asheboro Boulders. Anthony leads the Carolina Climbers Coalition with perseverance and passion, helping to build partnerships and a strong community of climbers dedicated to protecting and stewarding the places we cherish.
Reese Martin Coordinator of the Year Award – Thomson Ling
We honor Thomson Ling for his outstanding leadership as an Access Fund Regional Coordinator in Virginia. Thomson founded the Mid-Atlantic Climbers Coalition in 2002 and became a regional coordinator in 2003. With his support, Mid Atlantic Climbers has organized dozens of Adopt a Crag events over the past seven years with hundreds of volunteers in attendance in areas including Shenandoah National Park, Carderock Recreation Area, and Great Falls National Park. Thomson is now a Regional Coordinator in New Jersey.
Sharp End Award – Clif Bar & Company
The Access Fund is proud to award Clif Bar & Company a Sharp End Award for their dedication and support of local volunteerism and long-term stewardship of climbing areas. Since 2004, Clif Bar has been a Contributing Sponsor of the Adopt a Crag program and in 2008 became a Contributing Sponsor of the TeamWorks youth program, helping to turn young gym climbers into responsible conservation-minded outdoor climbers. Clif Bar strives to bring local communities together to take care of the beautiful places we play, and for that we are very grateful.
Sharp End Award – Brian Sabourin
We are pleased to present a Sharp End Award to Brian Sabourin, our first regional coordinator in the state of Ohio. Brian has illustrated his leadership in climbing activism by forming a new local climbing organization (the Northeast Ohio Climbers Coalition), spearheading an effort to open climbing access at the Brecksville Reservation, and volunteering countless hours to building relationships and collaborating with the Cleveland Metro Parks. He also organized the first Adopt a Crag at Whipp’s Ledge. Brian is just getting started, and we look forward to many more successes in the years to come.
Sharp End Award – Paul Morley
We are honored to present a Sharp End Award to Paul Morley, who shows the climbing community that activism and protection of our climbing areas may be hard work, but the rewards are worth the effort. Paul worked tirelessly over four years to acquire Yellow Bluff in Alabama, and has been an instrumental player in building a network of supporters among the Southeastern Climbers Coalition and Access Fund. Paul’s contagious enthusiasm for climbing access spreads to everyone he meets, and we are proud to have him in our corner.
Sharp End Award – Aaron Gibson
We honor Aaron Gibson, co-owner of the Rocktown Climbing Gym and coach to the Oklahoma Climbing Team, for his leadership in climbing management planning and trail projects throughout his home state of Oklahoma. Aaron has been an Access Fund regional coordinator since 2004 and has played an integral role in helping to preserve climbing access at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge by working with local climbers and Refuge managers on climbing policies. Aaron also provided lobbying support for the Access Fund’s meetings with Oklahoma’s congressional delegation in Washington, DC. Thanks to Aaron, climber interests are well-represented in Oklahoma.
Action Alert: Protect Climbing Access in Yosemite
We need your help to influence the latest Merced River Plan, which could restrict climbing access and camping in Yosemite Valley, depending on how the Park prepares its new revised user capacity program. At issue is access to iconic climbs including those found on The Rostrum, Cookie Cliff, and Middle Cathedral Rock (everything ¼ mile on either side of the river). This plan will also affect all travel through the management area to locations just outside the river corridor, which brings into play all climbing in Yosemite Valley including El Capitan and even Half Dome. Another consequence of this litigation is the increased likelihood that camping will become even more scarce while the number of lodging units remains largely unchanged.
Please write Yosemite National Park by February 4 and support the preservation of climbing access in the Valley! With our easy-to-use letter writing tool, it only takes two minutes to make your voice heard.
Take action now!
CCC Starts Off the New Year by Closing on Rumbling Bald
Carolina Climbers Coalition (CCC) starts off the new year by closing on the acquisition of Rumbling Bald West Side Boulders on January 6. The Access Fund provided a bridge loan of $72,000 from the new Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign to finance 90% of the purchase price for the 6.12 acre tract, which hosts 30 boulders with approximately 200 high quality boulder problems.
The CCC and the Access Fund worked together to finalize the purchase of this popular bouldering area from a private developer. The CCC will fundraise over the next two years, with the intent of transferring the property to North Carolina State Parks for long-term, climber-friendly management.
For more information on the acquisition, click here. To find out what you can do to help the fundraising efforts, visit www.carolinaclimbers.org.
Access Fund to Refinance Farley Ledge Loan, Saving Western Massachusetts Climbers’ Coalition Thousands
The Access Fund announced today that it will provide Western Massachusetts Climbers’ Coalition with short-term financing to pay off an existing $30,000 bank loan on 7 acres of land at the base of Farley Ledge in Erving, Massachusetts.
The funds will be supplied by the new Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign, a revolving loan program that provides local climbing organizations with the funds and expertise needed to act quickly to save threatened climbing areas. The Western Massachusetts Climbers’ Coalition has paid down 90 percent of the original $300,000 bank loan. By refinancing the remainder of the loan under the Access Fund’s new program, the Coalition will save approximately $3,500 in interest and fees that can be invested in other projects that benefit the Massachusetts climbing community.
Farley Ledge contains arguably the best climbing in southern New England between Rumney, New Hampshire and the Gunks in eastern New York. In 2007, the Coalition purchased the undeveloped tract at the base of the cliff to protect the access point and allow for a parking area. The Access Fund provided a $10,000 grant to assist with the original purchase.
Prior to the purchase, the parking and trail access for Farley Ledge and the adjacent Metacomet-Monadnock Trail lay across a patchwork of private land parcels at the end of a dense residential neighborhood. Access was constantly threatened by a combination of overuse and lack of adequate public parking, which lead to neighborhood concerns. Farley was closed four times over the last twenty years due to these concerns.
The successful acquisition of this property solidified climbing access by allowing for the creation of a sustainable parking area and a permanent trailhead. The Coalition spearheaded the construction of a new 16-car parking lot, access trail, and kiosk in the fall of 2008, which is now enjoyed by the public.
The Western Massachusetts Climbers Coalition has a long history of protection and preservation at Farley Ledge, funding biological surveys, writing an award winning climbing management plan, and hosting annual Access Fund Adopt-a-Crag stewardship events. “We are excited to give WMCC a new level of support in this stage of conservation at Farley Ledge,” says Access Fund Access Director Joe Sambataro.
The refinance is expected to close by December of this year. The Coalition has an aggressive fundraising plan in place to pay back the loan, allowing the Access Fund to invest in other projects. Please stay tuned to the Coalition for detailed fundraising plans and opportunities to give your support. For more information, contact Jeff Squire at firstname.lastname@example.org or Joe Sambataro at email@example.com. Visit www.westernmacc.com for new updates.
Yosemite Valley/Merced Update
For several years Yosemite National Park has been working on a plan to address human capacity concerns in the park to prevent negative impacts to the Merced River habitat. The plan is likely to include a quota system that could unfairly target climbers and/or climbing areas that have limited to no impact on the river corridor habitat. The Access Fund is working with our partners to influence the planning process and advocate for management policies that protect the unique values associated with the Merced Wild and Scenic River, while allowing for responsible climbing and camping opportunities. There will be an opportunity for the public to review and comment on details of the plan. Stay tuned to Access Fund E-news for the opportunity to make your voice heard.
For more detail on the Access Fund’s history on the Merced River Plan, see our news item and comments to the last draft plan. More information on the current planning process can be found on the National Park Service website.
Video: Erik Weihenmayer Climbs The Naked Edge to Benefit Access Fund
On Thursday November 5, blind climber Erik Weihenmayer tackled his hardest route to date – Eldorado Canyon’s The Naked Edge.
Led by Access Fund Executive Director, Brady Robinson, and accompanied by friend Charley Mace, the trio ascended seven pitches of sustained 5.11b followed by a film crew.
“Climbing The Naked Edge with Erik and Charley was one of the highlights of my entire climbing career,” says Robinson. “He didn’t just get up it, he climbed it. Every single move. It was an honor to share that experience with him.”
Watch the climb:
Join the Access Fund today and help keep our climbing areas open for this and future generations. www.accessfund.org/join.
Carolina Climbers Coalition and the Access Fund Set to Purchase Rumbling Bald West Side Boulders in North Carolina
The Carolina Climbers Coalition and the Access Fund announced today the intent to purchase and conserve the Rumbling Bald West Side Boulders in North Carolina.
The Access Fund will provide a bridge loan of $72,000 from the new Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign to finance 90% of the purchase price for the 6.12 acre tract that is currently under contract by the Carolina Climbers Coalition.
The two organizations are working together to finalize the purchase of this popular bouldering area from a private developer. Developed in 1999, the parcel hosts 30 boulders with approximately 200 high quality boulder problems. The area sees considerable use from southeast climbers due to its central location to several nearby metropolitan areas, including Asheville, NC; Charlotte, NC; Greenville, SC; and Spartanburg, SC.
North Carolina State Park officials and wildlife biologists have confirmed the existence of the endangered White Irisette on the property. Park officials and biologists agreed that climbers do not pose a significant threat to this species. In fact, it was generally acknowledged that the use by climbers is likely benefiting the population, as disturbance of the trails reduces leaf litter, which aids in the survival and reproduction of White Irisette. The Carolina Climbers Coalition plans to work with park officials to survey the property and to ensure the protection and health of the endangered species while under their stewardship.
The Carolina Climbers Coalition plans to hold the parcel for the duration of the loan repayment. It has an aggressive fundraising plan in place for the full purchase price and is set to own the property outright within a year. In the summer of 2011, the Carolina Climbers Coalition plans to transfer the property to North Carolina State Parks as an addition to the Rumbling Bald area of Chimney Rock State Park for long-term, climber-friendly management.
The Carolina Climbers Coalition takes on the Rumbling Bald property with the full confidence and support of the Access Fund. The CCC has a strong track record of owning and managing climbing areas—including Laurel Knob and Asheboro bouldering area—and raising funds to secure and steward these areas. To date it is estimated that the CCC and the Access Fund have raised over $250,000 to secure access to these 2 areas.
The deal is expected to close by December 30th, 2009. Please stay tuned to the Carolina Climbers Coalition for detailed fundraising plans and opportunities to give your support. For more information, contact Anthony Love at firstname.lastname@example.org or Joe Sambataro at email@example.com. Visit www.carolinaclimbers.org for new updates.
A Plan for the Buttermilks Human Waste Issue
On November 7 and 8, the Friends of Inyo hosted an Access Fund supported Adopt a Crag event at the Buttermilks that drew almost 70 volunteers (pictured right). The event was followed by an American Alpine Club hosted slideshow presented by Doug Robinson, which raised $2,000 for the construction and long-term maintenance of a new pit toilet. The vast number of climbers visiting each year has led to growing environmental damage at the site due to lack of adequate facilities and the improper disposal of human waste. The Access Fund’s Grassroots Coordinator, Amy Ansari, and Regional Coordinator for the area, Jim Pinter-Lucke, met with locals and USFS officials to work out a plan of action to address the issue by next fall. In the meantime, the best ways for climbers to help is to plan ahead when they are going to the Buttermilks. Take RESTOP/Wag Bags, disperse campsites to reduce the concentration of impact in one area (or stay at a campground), and stay informed.
Access Fund members get discounted RESTOP Bags!
Access Fund’s New Visa Platinum Rewards Card Offers a New Way to Support the Cause
There is a new, convenient way for people to support the Access Fund. And it fits in your wallet.
The Access Fund and CardPartner, Inc. have joined forces to launch the Access Fund Visa® affinity Platinum Rewards credit card. Applicants can choose between 5 unique card designs, featuring an array of sport climbing, traditional climbing, bouldering, and ice climbing photography. When a cardholder activates the card, Access Fund receives $50. Then once a month for the life of the program, Access Fund receives a check for a portion of every dollar that every cardholder charges.
“Using the Access Fund Visa® affinity Platinum Rewards credit card for everyday purchases is an easy way for climbers to support our work to keep climbing areas open and conserve the climbing environment,” says Access Fund Executive Director Brady Robinson.
The Access Fund Visa® Platinum Rewards card offers qualified cardholders the following benefits:
• No annual fee
• 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first six months
• Ability to earn points at hundreds of participating retailers
• Ability to earn up to 15 bonus points per dollar at select merchants
• Redeem points for FREE airlines tickets, merchandise and more
• Purchase protection
• Zero liability protection for unauthorized purchases
• Emergency cash and card replacement
• 24-hour roadside assistance
Special thanks to donating photographers Corey Rich, Andy Mann, and Jared McMillen. Find out more about the Access Fund Visa Platinum® Rewards card at www.accessfund.org/creditcard.
Access Fund Receives Thanks from Yosemite National Park
Access Fund receives a letter of thanks from Yosemite National Park for support of the park's climbing management program this year. The Access Fund provided a grant for the Rock Climbing in Yosemite Brochure and Climbing Area Map, and provided input from the beginning on content, design, and layout. According to the park, feedback on the brochure from the climbing community has been overwhelmingly positive.
Read the letter from the Yosemite National Park
Urge Minnewaska State Park to Allow Climbing
Help us urge the New York Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to authorize a process for resource surveys that will determine appropriate climbing access in Minnewaska State Park Preserve. This is a live action alert. Take Action Now!
Access Fund Brings Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival to Berkeley, CA
The Access Fund and guest emcee Timmy O'Neill are set to host the Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival in Berkeley, California, on Thursday, November 12th, 2009. The Wild & Scenic Film Festival is a night of inspiring environmental films and a celebration of the environment, complete with a lively pre-party, live music, beer and an auction. Special guest and pro climber Timmy O’Neill will emcee the evening’s events. The party and film festival will be held at the Clif Bar and Company Headquarters located at 1610 Fifth Street in Berkeley (entrance is through the parking lot on Fourth Street). Festivities kick off at 5 p.m., with film screenings beginning at 7 p.m.
Drinks, live music, and the films themselves will drive the celebration of a festival for activists, by activists, created with the aim of sharing new ideas. In hosting the Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival, the Access Fund intends to inspire fellow activists to learn, experience, explore, and celebrate the natural and wild worlds through the power of film and thought.
Participants will learn from inspiring environmental films surrounding hard-hitting topics including bioengineering, water issues, wilderness preservation, citizen activism, and more. With added excitement highlighting the adrenalin of kayaking the world’s wildest rivers, climbing the highest peaks, and trekking across the globe, these films will explore the critical issues facing our environment today. Leading environmental activists, outdoor professionals, filmmakers, and celebrities will be in attendance, joining conversations and celebrating alongside the audience.
Tickets are available now for $10. To purchase, and for a sneak peek of the evening’s activities, raffle and silent auction items, and more, visit: www.accessfund.org/wseff. The Wild & Scenic Film Festival is supported by Clif Bar, Osprey, Patagonia, Tom’s of Maine, and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Buy tickets now!
Gunks Climbers’ Coalition End-of-Climbing-Season Soirée
The Gunks Climbers’ Coalition invites climbers, hikers, and nature lovers to a gala event, celebrating the acquisition of an area of large boulders amid deep, wooded beauty and valley light in Rosendale. This land, the Rosendale Waterworks Bouldering Project, is as world class a location as the Trapps Cliff on the Shawangunk Ridge is to traditional climbing. It’s intended as a place where everyone, climbers and non-climbers, can enjoy the beauty and serenity of our landscape, in perpetuity.
The event on Saturday, November 7 at 6:30pm at the Mohonk Preserve Visitor Center, 3197 Route 44/55, Gardiner, NY, is built around great conversation, fabulous food and wine, and live entertainment. There will be stations of substantial hot and cold local food throughout the Visitor’s Center, catered by The Main Course. Wine will be provided by Yancey and Michael Migliore’s award-winning Whitecliff Vineyard and Jen Redmond, Upstate Sales Manager at Organic Vintages.
The evening’s entertainment will be a poetry slam/spoken word performance by two of the Vulgarians, a controversial group of climbers dating back to the 60’s with a notorious reputation for wild stunts on the cliffs. The Vulgarians were and still are egalitarians - egalitarians with a grubby grumpy edge who had a lot of fun and have made a commitment to keep it up. Their stated and enacted mission was to provide a safe haven for all, and any fraternity or sorority rejects in particular - although one could also be welcome if one had such affiliations - to earn membership one merely had to be able to survive in the environment. If you kept coming back to the cliff, you were one of them. Featured artists include Claude Suhl, Beatnik poet and soul of the Vulgarians, and Burt Angrist, storyteller, prankster, and funny man.
The event is $75.00 per person. Reservations are required; black tie is optional. Proceeds will initiate fundraising efforts to cover costs associated with the purchase and maintenance of the Rosendale Waterworks Bouldering Project. Space is limited. Please RSVP with your payment by October 22 through our website donations page at gunksclimbers.org. Telephone contact: 845 613 0683.
Access Fund Announces Third Round Grant Recipients for 2009
In the third round of the Climbing Preservation Grant Program for 2009, the Access Fund awarded over $11,500 to support local climbing activism and conservation of the climbing environment. Presented three times annually, the Climbing Preservation Grants program provides financial assistance for local climber activism and protection of the climbing environment in the United States. During this third round of grants, the Access Fund is supporting three proposals. The following grants were awarded this round:
National Park Service – Exit Strategies Conference
A grant was awarded to the National Park Service for a 2010 conference on exit strategies of human waste. This conference will include land managers and representatives from major climbing areas facing waste management crises due to high recreational use, such as Denali, Mt. Whitney, Mt Fuji, Rocky Mountain, Tetons, Indian Creek, and Mt. Rainier. Matching funds are being provided by the NPS, BLM, USFS, and American Alpine Club.
Ozark-St. Francis National Forest – Sam’s Throne Pit Toilet
Ozark-St. Francis National Forest was awarded a grant for partial funding of a pit toilet at Sam’s Throne in Arkansas. The Forest Service and local climbing community have partnered to improve access and camping opportunities, yet the lack of toilet facilities has led to growing environmental damage at the site. The grant is awarded with support of the Arkansas Climbing Coalition, Boy Scouts local climbing committee, Arkansas Parks and Tourism, and Ozark Outdoor Supply.
Dishman Hills Natural Area Association (DHNAA) – Big Rock Road Improvement and Parking
A grant was awarded to Dishman Hills Natural Area Association (DHNAA) to help fund road improvement and parking construction needed to access the newly acquired 80-acre Big Rock parcel, near Spokane, WA. Public access is currently closed until the unmaintained county road is improved and a small parking area is constructed. Access to the area was closed due to climbers and other users blocking driveways of adjacent neighbors in an attempt to park.
Help Reopen Williamson Rock
Your comments needed to support Forest Service proposal to reopen climbing access at Williamson Rock in Angeles National Forest.
Since 2004, the Angeles National Forest has banned climbing at Williamson Rock due to conflicts with critical habitat of the endangered Mountain Yellow Legged Frog. Now, after much work by the Friends of Williamson Rock and the Access Fund urging the Angeles National Forest to study alternate approach trails to Williamson, the Forest Service has issued a proposal that would reopen many of Williamson’s climbs while also protecting sensitive wildlife habitat.
This is a live action alert. Please take action now!
Access PanAm Gets Off to a Good Start
Access PanAM / Acceso PanAm, the first ever hemisphere-wide access group, met for the first time at the Squamish Mountain Festival this past August. Led by Access Fund founder Armando Menocal, climbing activists from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Mexico, and United States (including Access Fund Policy Director) met to discuss the problems faced by climbers in the Western Hemisphere.
The initial sessions revealed the breath of access problems across Latin America—from gang members with machine guns blocking climbers in Brazilian favelas, to Cubans being arrested at their crags even though climbing is permitted by foreigners, and even Mexican villagers accusing local climbers of stealing a mythical golden dog perched on their cliffs. The issues vary, but they have a common core: No one solution fits.
It will be up to local climbers to solve local problems, but the basic mission of Access PanAm will be to support the locals in these initiatives. Access PanAm’s goal will be to create and sustain local, regional, and country-wide access organizations that keep climbing areas open and protect the mountain environment. La unión hace la fuerza – In unity there is power.
The new access organization made several achievements at the August meeting, including the appointment of a part time Executive Director, Kika Bradford, founder of Brazil’s first access organization and selection of a steering committee made up of activists from Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, USA, and Spain.
Access PanAm also launched its first campaign, to save one of Latin America’s biggest and most endangered climbing areas, Valle Cochamó. Situated in Chile's Patagonia, this alpine wilderness has some of the longest ice-free granite routes on earth. Cochamó is legally unprotected, and local utility companies have applied to dam the valley for its water and hydro-power. The effort to save this spectacular area includes Daniel Seeliger, one of Access PanAm’s initial organizers and a resident of Valle Cochamó.
The founding meeting of Access PanAm was funded by the Petzl Foundation, helped by air tickets from Mountain Gear (U.S.A.), and hosted by the Squamish Mountain Festival.
For more information, visit accesspanam.com.