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Guided Climbing Approved at Sky Top, NY
3/12/2007

By Christopher Spatz, Gunks Climbers Coalition and Access Fund RC

Starting April 1, 2007, overnight guests of the Mohonk Mountain House will have the opportunity to climb at Sky Top with an approved guide. Guiding costs are in addition to hotel accommodations. Unescorted guests, day guests, and the public are not permitted to rock climb at Sky Top at this time.

This agreement is the result of several years of negotiations between former Access Fund Board member Russ Clune, Access Fund Community Partner Alpine Endeavors www.alpineendeavors.com and the Mohonk Mountain House www.mohonk.com. The facts sheet on their arrangement is also available on the GCCs website: www.gunksclimbers.org and at www.mohonkmountainguides.com

Sky Top has been closed to climbers since the mid 1990s. Historically, it is one of the most significant crags on the continent. Sky Tops sublime setting is home to one of the earliest routes in the Shawangunks, Fritz Weissners 1935 Gargoyle, moderate classics like Grey Face, Pilgrims Progress, and Sound & Fury, as well as Trad testpieces that advanced North American rock climbing standards, Foops and Supercrack.

 



Indian Creek Update, UT
3/12/2007

By Emma Medara, Friends of Indian Creek

The BLM has installed a toilet at the Beef Basin turnoff. This is a great addition to our human waste management program. While it is only one toilet, and is not there to replace the use of the human waste bags, it gives relief to the large number of waste bags that are being used through the successful program.

Please continue to use the waste bags when it is not convenient to use the toilet (at the crag or at the campsite or anywhere where you do not have access to the toilet).

Donations for waste bags last season were great, and together with money raised from t-shirt sales, slide shows and financial contributions from manufacturers, we have just ordered 2500 more waste bags to keep the dispensers stocked for the spring season. However, please don't always rely on these dispensers being fully stocked. Please be prepared by bringing in your own waste bags.

There is information on www.friendsofindiancreek.org about alternative backcountry toilet systems. It is our intention to phase out supplying human waste bags in the future, but this will not mean that everybody can go back to digging holes. We will all have to be responsible for ourselves and provide our own systems of packing out.

The future of Indian Creek, whether there are human waste bags or not, will still depend on climbers managing themselves and the area responsibly and packing out human waste.

Everyone is doing a great job, and the donations are a huge help. Please keep helping us by not poohing in holes, keeping to the designated camping areas, and keeping those donations coming in.

Go to the website www.friendsofindiancreek.org for updated information.

 



Nelson Rocks Preserve Update, WV
3/12/2007

By Ocean Eiler, Access Fund Regional Coordinator

January 27th of 2007, In response to the recent real estate listing of Nelson Rocks Preserve, WV, climbers in the Washington DC area held a round table. Nelson Rocks Preserve is a privately owned outdoor recreation area, featuring many climbing routes, via ferrata climbing, hiking, and camping.

The round table discussions lead by Access Fund Regional Coordinator Thomson Ling discussed the options for preserving climbing access at Nelson Rocks Preserve and helped to facilitate the ground work for positive action.

With roughly 20 people in attendance, the discussions were inquisitive and demonstrated climbers motivation to preserve access to Nelson Rocks.

For information please contact Thomson Ling or Ocean Eiler at: thomsonling@dcmetroclimbing.com or ocean@dcmetroclimbing.com

 



Oregon Beacon Bill, OR
3/12/2007

The Oregon bill that proposes mandating climbers on Mt Hood to carry emergency locator beacons has been all over the national media for the past few weeks.

The Access Funds stance opposes the mandatory use of these simple one way devices and interestingly enough this has become major fodder for everything from print media to radio talk shows to major TV network shows.

Climbers are a close-knit community and we never want to see one of our own in a rescue or recovery situation but this bill wont necessarily make the mountain safer. Even if the beacons make it easier to locate parties, what if theres a three-day storm? Climbing is always about calculated risk and nothing can replace experience. Says Access Fund Executive Director, Steve Matous.

Steve Rollins with Portland Mountain Rescue who has performed the rescues on Mt. Hood these last few months agrees with the Access Fund stance. Rollins says the legislature can't mandate good judgment. "In an urban environment, we do everything we can do to make the world safe around us. And that is one of the beauties of the backcountry, that it is untouched and it really is you and nature. I'm a strong believer that the laws of nature are going to be far more powerful than any law our legislators come up with. And if we can educate people to respect the laws of nature more, that will go a lot further than any law that we come up with."

The bill, while laudable in light of recent high profile rescue and recovery efforts that were featured in mainstream media of climbers on Oregons Mt. Hood, is a knee-jerk reaction and will not prevent climbers from being injured or killed in climbing related accidents. The bill simply adds a layer of red-tape to climbing a mountain and at worst could actually give less experienced climbers a sense of false security when presented with conditions out of their control (such as the fast-moving weather systems of the Pacific Northwest). See the Access Fund testimony on the bill www.accessfund.org/pdf/HR_2509_Testimony.pdf

For more of the national media attention, visit these links: www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7770277&sc=ema

http://thenewshole.msnbc.msn.com/articles/64101.aspx (by all accounts a curious honor for the Access Fund)



Proposed Seasonal Closures to Protect Nesting Raptors, CA
3/12/2007

By Kirsten Winter, Cleveland National Forest Biologist

*This is a new scoping effort, and a new comment period has been started. Comments will be accepted until April 16, 2007. For letter writing tips, please visit: www.accessfund.org/display/page/AA/54

The Cleveland National Forest (Cleveland NF) is proposing seasonal area closures to protect golden eagles and prairie falcons at three locations.

The Cleveland NF is initiating the scoping process under the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1970. Scoping is the means by which the Forest Service identifies the important environmental and social issues to be considered in developing and analyzing a proposed action. Your site-specific comments are requested to help us identify relevant issues, evaluate the proposed action, and develop possible alternatives.

The proposed seasonal area closures were initially proposed for NEPA analysis under a categorical exclusion, as summarized in a scoping letter dated December 11, 2006, and sent to local user groups. Based on public input and a further refinement of the proposed action, the Cleveland NF has chosen to undertake an environmental assessment to analyze the proposed action. The public will have 30 days to provide responses to this scoping letter. The Cleveland NF will then prepare an environmental assessment.

The public will have 30 days to comment on the analysis contained in the environmental assessment. The proposed action may be modified based on scientifically and legally sound information that is received during any of the comment periods. After considering the comments received on the environmental assessment, the Cleveland NF will make a decision.

All comments submitted in response to the December 11, 2006 scoping letter will be retained in the project file for the current proposed action. These comments will be considered during analysis and do not need to be resubmitted.

For more detailed information, including the scoping letter and maps describing the proposed action, please see the Cleveland National Forest website at www.fs.fed.us/r5/cleveland/projects/projects/seasonal-closures/index.shtml

 



Sending The Business in Red River Gorge, KY
3/12/2007

By Bill Strachan, Executive Director Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition

As of Mid-February 2007 almost $16,000 had been collected towards the annual mortgage payment for the RRGCC owned Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve (PMRP) in Lee County, Kentucky. With the annual payment of $29,393 due on July 15, the RRGCC is continuing to ramp up its efforts to secure this purchase (For donation info see: www.rrgcc.org/membership.php.

The PMRP, with over 700-acres of land, is home to well over 300 routes with new lines being discovered and developed weekly. At the end of 2006, the first 5.14c in Red River Gorge was established when Mike Doyle redpointed Lucifer at the Purgatory area of the PMRP.

Equally important, the US Forest Service has stepped up the pace of the Red River Gorge Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC) workshops. Currently on Step 6 of the nine-step process, participation by local climbers is key to maintaining climbing access on Federally owned land in the Gorge. Now meeting more than once a month, workshop participants are presently working to identify alternative opportunity zone allocations. At the heart of these meetings is an effort to find a solution that works for all stakeholders, the main options being: 1) emphasis on resource protection; 2) balance between resource protection and recreation; 3) emphasis on recreation and tourism; and 4) no action.

Finally the RRGCC has scheduled two Adopt-A-Crag Day events for 2007. The first event will be held in conjunction with the Red River Reunion being held at Miguels Pizza & Rock Climbing in Slade, KY on April 21, 2007. In keeping with the spirit of Earth Day, this Adopt-A-Crag Day will have a Gorge-wide Trash Clean-up and Scavenging Contest. Contestants will present their most interesting pieces of trash to be judged by the crowd that evening at Miguels.

Also, this year the 3rd Annual John Bronaugh & Alex Yeakley Adopt-A-Crag Day will be held on August 4, 2007 at the PMRP. This event is devoted to developing new routes and supporting trail development. Held since 2005, this day honors the legacy of the late John Bronaugh and the passion for climbing that he shared with his late son Alex Yeakley.

 



Shenandoah National Park Climbers Alliance, VA
3/12/2007

By Ocean Eiler, Access Fund Regional Coordinator

In order to give a united voice to climbers who climb in Shenandoah National Park, a new group is forming: the Shenandoah National Park Climbers Alliance (SNPCA). SNPCA is an informal, volunteer, grassroots group that will represent your interests as climbers in the Shenandoah National Park. As you may be aware, Shenandoah National Park includes climbing sites such as Little Stony Man and Old Rag Mountain (one of few granite climbing areas in the mid-Atlantic region). Initially, SNPCA will focus on building a constructive and mutually trustworthy relationship with the staff of the Shenandoah National Park as they prepare a climbing management plan under their Rock Outcrop Management Project. Ultimately, the SNPCA will serve as a channel for input from the climbing community to the Park staff that will be essential to preserving the high quality of climbing that we have come to enjoy in the Shenandoah National Park.

SNPCA is looking for climbers who want to get involved and help ensure that climbing remains accessible at Shenandoah National Park. There's plenty to doplease get involved! For more information on how to get involved, or if you have questions, please contact the SNPCA at snpclimbersalliance@gmail.com or visit www.snpclimbersalliance.blogspot.com Please feel free to pass this along to anyone who might be interested--we want to get the word out to as many people as possible!

Website: www.snpclimbersalliance.blogspot.com
Email : snpclimbersalliance@gmail.com

 



Access Fund National Climbing Management Summit
2/14/2007

On March 10 and 11 the Access Fund will host a National Climbing Management Summit in Golden, CO. This conference will provide a forum for land managers from across the country to discuss and share specific climbing management practices that work.

Increasingly, public land agencies implement varying climbing management policies despite similar or identical mandates and management obligations. There exists a need for better communication and understanding between public land managers and the climbing community to avoid management problems, inconsistent regulatory interpretations and enforcement, and to facilitate buy-in by climbers concerning land manger obligations, needs and programs.

A better understanding of effective climbing management policies and improved communication among land managers and the climbing community will work to keep us all climbing.

If you are a land manager and are interested in attending, please email Access Fund Policy Director Jason Keith at jason@accessfund.org.

 



Arches National Park Update, UT
2/14/2007

By Sam Lightner Jr., Access Fund Board Member, Arches Task Force Coordinator, ASCA South East Utah Representative

In May of 2006 the National Park Service (NPS) placed a moratorium on new fixed anchors in Arches National Park. This moratorium bans pitons (or bolts) on existing aid routes, effectively making many of the established routes in Arches closed to future ascents.

Similarly, any new climbs requiring descent anchors are also now banned. Both Arches and Canyonlands (where fixed anchors are also now currently prohibited) contain a very large number of desert towers and the potential countless new single pitch routes and these new fixed anchor restrictions greatly limited climbing opportunities. However, the NPS plans to start a new climbing management plan governing both Arches and Canyonlands later this year which may address some of the current climbing restrictions.

After the May 2006 Arches fixed anchor ban the Access Fund immediately stepped in to try and alleviate the situation by improving relations with the South East Utah Group. Through meetings with park officials it became clear that the new climbing restrictions in Arches resulted from public outcry about the controversial climb of Delicate Arch last May which forced land managers to make a rule that was not good for climbers.

A group of local Moab climbers, working with the Access Fund and the American Safe Climbing Association, has begun to work with the NPS to try and give climbers a better image by cleaning up anchors and removing old webbing from towers and other visible routes within Arches.

Park administrators have so far been receptive and the improving relationship will hopefully help the Access Fund negotiate an end to the anchor moratorium and eventually produce a new climbing policy that accommodates climbers. In the meantime, it is important that climbers not add anchors to existing or new routes, forgo the use of chalk, and follow trails, washes, and slick rock when approaching climbs.

For more information contact Access Fund Policy Director Jason Keith at jason@accessfund.org.

 



Chimney Rock purchased by Hickory Nut Gorge State Park, NC
2/14/2007

By Brad McLeod, Access Fund Board Member

On January 30, 2007, The State of North Carolina announced plans to officially buy Chimney Rock (996 acre parcel) for $24 million. Sean Cobourn, past President of the Carolina Climbers Coalition stated "The CCC has been lobbying for this and today the dream came true. CRP will now be included in the new Hickory Nut Gorge State Park. Don't pull out your rack yet, but keep your fingers crossed that we can negotiate access to this gem."

The purchase of the Chimney Rock parcel adds to the expanding 2,264 acres of Hickory Nut Gorge State Park which includes Rumbling Bald known for its fantastic crack climbing and a hillside strewn with hundreds of boulders.

The Carolina Climbers Coalition has worked hard over the past years to work out the details of purchasing the Rumbling Bald tract from private landowners and transferring this land to the newly formed State Park.

Sean Barb, current President of the CCC explained "This is obviously a really, really big deal for more than just the climbing community. Fortunately for climbers, North Carolina State Parks are skilled at balancing the provision of recreation with natural resource protection. Lets all look forward to working within the State Park's planning processes which will ensure that future generations will have a wonderful park to enjoy."

Chimney Rock sits on the opposite side of the rugged gorge overlooking Lake Lure and is punctuated by a 400 ft. waterfall and stunning 300 ft. chimney.

 



Improve the Future of Climbing at Hueco Tanks ACT NOW!
2/14/2007

Texas State Parks are in a vulnerable position resulting from inadequate and declining state funding over the last decade. These parks include Hueco Tanks, Enchanted Rock and McKinney Falls, all of which contain climbing or bouldering. As a result of this funding decline, coupled with ever-increasing costs, the state parks current budget shortfall has lead to lay-offs, partial closings and curtailment of park programs, especially for youth. When the budget for Texas climbing parks suffers your climbing future is at risk.

Your help is needed to secure adequate funding for climbing parks in Texas.

There are currently two bills up for approval this session in the Texas Legislature, HB 6 and SB 252, which if passed would remove a cap on the allocation of sporting goods taxes towards Texas state and local parks (also including Reimers Ranch). These bills could result in a much-needed increase in funding to Texas State Parks and enable the restoration of park programs, hiring of additional staff, and new and improved park facilities that would benefit climbers and other recreational users. In short, the approval of HB 6 and SB 252 could result in a long-term investment in Texas climbing parks.

Also in the works is a proposal by Texas state legislators and agency commissioners to transfer more than 20 state park properties in Texas from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) over to the Texas Historical Commission (THC). THC insists that Hueco Tanks is no longer targeted for transfer though it was initially. Heuco is certainly a desirable asset as the premiere archaeological resource in the state and we must assure that it stays off the THCs list for transfer. With THCs mission centered on the preservation of archeological and cultural landmarks in Texas, climbing access at Hueco could change under THC management.

The Access Fund is taking action to support the approval of HB 6 and SB 252 and oppose the transfer of state parks, including Hueco Tanks, from TPWD to THC.

The Access Fund is taking the following actions: 1. An Austin-based lobbying campaign that aligns Texas climbers with other interest groups dedicated to preserving the financial security of Texas state parks and Hueco in particular. This work will also involve direct lobbying to the Texas governors office, and talking with numerous relevant Texas legislators and public land agency officials.

2. Working with Hueco locals and mobilizing a local grassroots organization targeting El Paso-area climbers, other Texas constituents, and out-of-state climbers that frequent Hueco who all share an interest in preserving recreational access at Hueco. This effort includes immediate letter writing to Austin-based policy makers and rallying Hueco climbers at the 2007 Rock Rodeo.

Now is the time to invest in the future of climbing at Hueco Tanks. If you are a Texas state resident contact your state legislator and urge them to:
(1) improve funding for state and local parks (2) oppose the transfer of recreation-based parks to the Texas Historical Commission.

Visit www.accessfund.org/pdf/Hueco_Talking_Points_2_9_07.pdf to read talking points and find information on who your state representative is in Texas.

If you are a non-Texan who has visited and enjoy the climbing opportunities at Hueco Tanks, check the next ENEWS (sign up here if you dont already receive it) to fill out an economic impact survey and show your local influence.

If you want to ensure future climbing and bouldering access to Hueco Tanks and other climbing parks in Texas, now is the time to speak up.

Stay tuned to the Access Fund ENEWS for updates to this issue.

For more information about Hueco visit: http://accessfund.org/pubs/en/e-news22.htmland a href="http://www.huecorockranch.com

Contact the Access Fund for more information: jason@accessfund.org

 



Legislators Propose Electronic Signaling Devices for Mountaineers, OR
2/14/2007

Following hi-drama rescue efforts this winter on Oregons Mt. Hood, electronic signaling devices (ESDs) have been touted by the media as key to saving lives.

Responding to these recent events, the Oregon governor recently issued an executive order (www.governor.oregon.gov/Gov/docs/executive_orders/eo0701.pdf) establishing a Search and Rescue Task Force to review Oregon laws, rules and policies pertaining to search and rescue operations and to recommend contemporary best practices for search and rescue operations. Now, a new bill in the Oregon state legislature (HB 2509) would require the use of ESDs by any individual or group engaging in mountain climbing above timberline during a five-month period in the winter. The proposed law would also require commercial guides, under certain conditions, to carry an altimeter, contour map and a compass. For more details see www.leg.state.or.us/07reg/measures/hb2500.dir/hb2509.intro.html.

Public criticism of HB 2509 was swift. Many point out that most ESDs will not serve as effective rescue tools and could cause the inexperienced to rely on them inappropriately (for example, use these one-way devices as avalanche beacons). Moreover, people carrying cell phones and ESDs may take more risk than normal, thinking that they can easily summon help. Alternatively, mountaineers who do not carry an ESD, yet know of the new legal requirement, may hesitate to ask for help for fear of penalty, thus further endangering themselves and rescuers. In short, the unintended but very real consequence of this proposed law will be more risks by mountaineers and lost time by rescuers.

Opponents of this bill also complain that the requirements to carry additional equipment are applied in a discriminatory fashion to mountaineers only (it doesnt apply to hikers, skiers, or, snowmobilers) despite surveys of rescue efforts that show that these other recreational user groups generate more search and rescue hours. Moreover, it is generally easier to locate people above tree line and much more difficult to locate people in the forest where ESDs devices would not be required under the proposed law.

The Access Fund believes that outdoor enthusiasts should take responsibility for their own safety and responsibly use appropriate rescue equipment. However, the state should not require the use of ESDs as these devices can create a false sense of security that rescue is available. Also, penalties for failing to carry an ESD may create a disincentive to contacting rescuers, thus further endangering everyone involved. To comment on HB 2509 (whether you live in Oregon or not) email the Oregon legislature at: www.leg.state.or.us. For more information contact Access Fund Policy Director Jason Keith at jason@accessfund.org.

 



Madrone Wall Update, OR
2/14/2007

By Keith K. Daellenbach, Madrone Wall Preservation Committee

The Parks Advisory Board (PAB) reviewed Clackamas County Parks Department staff recommendations for the next five years parks budget on 23 January. Thirty-five projects were recommended by County Parks staff for funding from an overall budget of $6.437 million. Included in the staff recommendation were two Madrone Wall allocations.

A $40K Hardscrabble Master Plan allocation was recommended for FY2007-2008. The master plan would plan for park activities and uses, capital expenses, traffic studies, on-site parking needs/design, and state highway approach. The master plan should be completed in nine to twelve months after the fiscal year starts on July 1, 2007.

A second recommended allocation by County Parks was for Madrone Park Improvements to occur four years later in FY2011-2012 (Year 5) for $300K. Creating required on-site parking is identified as the single largest capital expense; other capital expenditures include a porta-potty, signage, and trail materials. Three separate estimates acquired by the MWPC last fall show the cost to grade and finish a parking lot for 50 cars will cost a maximum of $40K for gravel and $70K for asphalt. While these estimates do not include surveying, permitting, or site preparation, they do indicate that park improvements may be significantly less than what this $300K capital allocation allows for.

The MWPC has lined-up several professionals, including cartographers and traffic engineers, willing to donate pro bono time to assist the planning process further reducing County costs. It is critical that the County follow through with their goal to make this a priority by establishing funding for capital improvements in years immediately following the FY2007-2008 park master planning process. This logic is applied to other County projects and the Madrone Wall should not be an exception. The master plan should not languish four years before something concrete is accomplished.

The next PAB meeting on February 20th at 7:00 p.m. will be critical. This meeting will further refine the Parks budget and finalize recommendations for consideration by the Commissioners. Reallocation decisions at the January PAB meeting will provide the opportunity to move up Year 5 Madrone Wall capital funding to FY 2008-2009 which is warranted.

While it is up to the PAB Chair to take comments from visitors, if you would like to provide input, we encourage you to attend this critical planning meeting. It will be held on Tuesday the 20th in Room 436 of the Countys Sunnybrook Service Center (9101 S.E. Sunnybrook Blvd., Clackamas). We also encourage you to contact the Commissioners directly (www.co.clackamas.or.us/bcc/) and register your support for the timely creation of a County park in a park-barren area with massive anticipated population growth in Damascus. The Board of County Commissioners review of PAB budget recommendations and setting FY2007-2008 budget.

 



Access To Hyalite Canyon Ice Climbing In Jeopardy
1/11/2007

By Emily Stifler

The new Gallatin National Forest travel plan severely threatens access to the world-class ice climbing in Hyalite Canyon near Bozeman, Montana. The plan closes and gates Hyalite Canyon road, the only reasonable access road to the ice climbing, between January 1 and May 15. This decision effectively reduces a 5-month ice climbing season to five weeks, eliminates 77% of all ice climbing and over 92% of the beginner and intermediate climbs in the Bozeman area.
How you can help:

1.Take a 5 minute survey
The Southwestern Montana Climbers Coalitions and First Ascent Press have created an online survey for all ice climbers. The results of this survey will help in policy arguments for access to ice climbing resources in other areas, as well. The survey can be accessed at www.hyalitecanyon.com or directly at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?A=167794934E65415

We encourage all who are interested in ice climbing to take a few moments to complete the simple survey even if you have not visited Hyalite. No sign up or registration is required and your responses protected by secure encryption. The data will provide extremely useful, if not necessary, information to present our situation to the Forest Service regarding the adopted Gallatin National Forest Travel Plan.

2. Write a letter to the Editor of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle has already published a number of letters from local and non-local climbers that has had an amazing effect on local politicians. Ice climbers now have at least one city and one county commissioner attending meetings. A well constructed, short letter to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle (citydesk@dailychronicle.com) urging Supervisor Heath to reconsider her decision to gate Hyalite Road and open 3 miles of road for winter access that will save over 140 ice climbs, from the climbers across the country will be useful in applying local political pressure.

3. Stay informed
For more information, recent discussions and updates go to www.montanaice.com/forums.

Background information:
This final plan, entitled 7M, is the culmination of more than four years of discussion, public comment periods, private meetings, letters to the editor, and ongoing debates and arguments among user groups.

7M designates the road beyond the gate for "family oriented cross-country skiing," and leaves ice climbers with two choices for access after December 31: a lengthy backcountry ski, or a circuitous, ungroomed, remote snowmobile route that experienced, local sled-heads call advanced and difficult riding.

The Southwest Montana Climbers Coalition (SMCC), the Access Fund, First Ascent Press and many other concerned individuals and businesses are currently working hard to explore the options to protect this climbing access.

These groups may need to launch an administrative appeal to the Forest Service, and need more statistics on ice climbing use in Hyalite Canyon. The more climbers take the survey, the more accurate and effective the data will be.

 



Black Cliffs, Boise, ID
1/11/2007

By Brian Fedigan

The Cliffs subdivision, above the Black Cliffs in Boise was approved by the county commissioners. The Cliffs will place approximately 1,400 new homes above Boises most popular crag.

The developer owns an extremely popular climbing area; known locally as Car Body Canyon and has expressed an interest in keeping this climbing area open to climbing. The Boise Climbers Alliance continues negoiations with the developers attempting to obtain a conservation easement for Car Body.

 



Cave Rock Update, NV
1/11/2007

Cave Rock Lawsuit Scheduled for Oral Arguments at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

After waiting 1 years, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently announced that the court will hear oral arguments in the Access Fund lawsuit that seeks to reopen climbing at Cave Rock, a popular and important climbing area on the shore of Lake Tahoe in Nevada.

On February 15 in San Francisco the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear 20 minute oral arguments each from the Access Fund and attorneys representing the US Forest Service. Stay tuned for any additional announcements.

In the meantime, the Cave Rock climbing ban remains in place, and it is critical that climbers continue to respect the climbing closure while we work our way through the courts. Violating the climbing closure will only harm our case in court and reduce the chances of climbing at Cave Rock in the future.

For more information see Cave Rock Background or contact Access Fund Policy Director Jason Keith at Jason@accessfund.org.

 



Farley Ledge, MA
1/11/2007

Cash for a Closing Peregrines Return - Vandalized Again

The WMCC is approaching a milestone event in its efforts to secure permanent access to some of the finest climbing and bouldering in southern New England. Soon representatives of the WMCC will attend a property closing with sufficient financial resources in hand to acquire a 9-acre parcel of property adjacent to the base of Farley Ledge in Erving, MA. The purchase of the property will allow the WMCC to restrict development at the base of the crag, establish a new parking area and provide unfettered access to the excellent climbing and hiking options.

To date the WMCC has raised over $55,000. The donations have come from a variety of sources including local climbers and businesses as well as regional and national organizations. A special thanks goes out to the Access Fund who provided a substantial grant and to the AMC for critical support to meet financial requirements at the closing.

The fundraising continues. The WMCC needs money to build the parking area and repay loans. Your help is needed now. There are currently five different challenge grants we are working on. For more information or to make a donation visit our website at www.westernmacc.com.

In other news, Peregrine Falcons made a late appearance this season. A pair of birds was discovered in early April on the Yellow Wall area. Local climbers are respecting the closure of this area until further notice. The WMCC asks all visiting climbers to do the same.

Lastly, in what has become an unfortunate seasonal event over 50 bolts plus an additional 15 anchor bolts were found vandalized at Farley Ledge during the week of April 1. All hardware was either stolen or hammered useless damaging 6 established routes. The action was taken at night or on a wet/cold weather day. No individual(s) has taken responsibility. If anyone has any information on the individual(s) that committed this act please contact the WMCC at mail@westernmacc.com.



Governor Stable Closure
1/11/2007

Since initiating the recreational lease of the Governor Stable property, the Pennsylvania Alliance of Climbers has been acutely aware that we were entering into a temporary, year-by-year arrangement with the landowner in order to allow climbing access. Due to concerns of the landowner, he has chosen not to renew the lease upon its expiration.

Citing concerns of impact to the deer population and the general environment of the property as a result of the increasing number of climbers visiting the boulders, the landowner feels that ending the lease is in the best interest of his family and their property.

While all of us at the Pennsylvania Alliance of Climbers are disappointed by this development, we support the landowner's decision. As a result, there will be no Governor Stable Bouldering Competition in 2007, and access to the boulders will cease on March 1, 2007.

While it is a loss to the climbing community to no longer have access to GS, we must remember the five successful years that we have worked with the landowner to promote the climbing there. We extend our deepest gratitude to the owners of Governor Stable for the time that they have given us to enjoy their wonderful property.

The Pennsylvania Alliance of Climbers will continue to stay in contact with the Governor Stable landowner in the event that his family's wishes change in the future.

Any questions should be directed to info@paclimbers.org.

 



Human Waste Management on the Whitney Trail, CA
1/11/2007

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
1/11/2007

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
Conservation easements
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: thomsonling@dcmetroclimbing.com

 



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