Credit Photo Courtesy of:
Brian Poon

The Climbing Advocate Podcast

The Climbing Advocate Podcast is a resource for Local Climbing Organizations and climbing advocates across the country to learn more about the trials and success stories that climbers have faced in fighting for access. Join our host, Peter Horgan, every month for interviews with the advocates who care deeply about our climbing areas in topics like education, stewardship, advocacy, and much more.

About our host:
A couple years into climbing, Peter Horgan discovered Access Fund and couldn’t believe there was an organization that was focused on

education, policy, and advocacy with climbing sitting at the center of it. Since then, he co-founded the local climbing organization in the Gunnison Valley of southwest Colorado and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Environmental Management to further his knowledge in conservation and advocacy. To put a megaphone to the Access Fund’s mission, he proposed the idea of hosting a podcast with the goal of connecting more climbers to the advocacy work that is being done on a daily basis countrywide.

Enjoy!

Peter's guests for this episode are Loryn Posladek and Kyle Leihsing who make make up Access Fund’s National Conservation Team. As the National Team, they are lucky enough to travel across the country for 10 months out of the year, stopping at many different climbing areas along the way to conduct trail work and educate climbers on stewardship and advocacy. The importance of volunteering and stewardship as a main pillar of Access Fund’s mission to “protect America’s climbing” is undeniable. They say that climbers should be drawn to a “higher calling” to be a steward and advocate for this sport. Otherwise, just as a trail is not permanent, neither is access to our beloved climbing areas. Stewardship can be interpreted in multiple ways and getting out there and getting your hands dirty is just one of them.

The guest for this episode is Mark Kenyon who is a hunter, author, fellow podcaster, and conservationist. He's actually not a climber which is exactly why Peter wanted to interview him. Through rich outdoor experiences growing up, Mark took a dive deep into the world of conservation and public lands history. The combination of hard work between his podcast, Wired to Hunt, his private land conservation efforts on the Back 40 project, and through writing his book, That Wild Country, his passion and knowledge on our nation’s wild lands runs deep. The main theme of this episode is "public lands unite us". Peter and Mark talk extensively about how the conservation and outdoor community, including hunters and climbers, have rallied together at imperative moments to create positive change when threats to our public lands were imminent.

This month’s guest is Scott Underwood who sits on the board of the Washington Climbers Coalition (WCC) and leads the Olympic Peninsula Climbers chapter of the WCC. He also directs the Washington Anchor Replacement Project (WARP). Scott and Peter cover all things bolting. He shared some of his personal experiences, identifying bad bolts, how to start and structure a rebolting initiative, and much more. Old hardware and poor bolts are something many crags face around the country. The work that is required to install modern hardware takes a significant amount of time and dedication. Scott was awarded a 2019 Access Fund Climbing Advocate Award for his leadership in bolt replacement.

Kareemah Batts is an adaptive climber based in New York City with one incredible story. She was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer back in 2009 and wasn't given much of a chance. In the wake of an amputation on one of her legs to save her life and save her complications in her recovery, she certainly came through stronger on the other side. A climbing trip out to Colorado profoundly changed her life. After being moved by this experience, she founded the Adaptive Climbing Group and made it her mission to provide the same kind of opportunities for other adaptive climbers to experience what she did in Colorado. She tells her story so well, you can't help but be moved by it. In the end she says, it's not about what makes us different. It's all about highlighting what's the same about us and what brings us all together. It's definitely the climbing. Kareemah was awarded a 2019 Access Fund Climbing Advocate Award for her leadership and advocacy on behalf of the adaptive climbing community.

We all know Tommy for his athletic achievements, but what's becoming just as impressive are his advocacy efforts. He has put in a tremendous amount of work not only advocating for climbing but for our climate and other wild spaces in general. His advocacy work has quickly become a large part of his identity and he's taking it on with just as much energy and focus as the Dawn Wall. In this episode, Tommy runs us through his advocacy beginnings and how they have blossomed into his current role as a Global Sports Activist for Patagonia. He provides us with a number of resources that we can use to get educated and involved in these causes and how to use our voices to continue to communicate these important messages.

This month, we hear from two climbing advocates who are educating climbers from within their gyms' wall. Peter interviews Paul Guarino, founder of Ascend Pittsburgh and board member of Southwestern Pennsylvania Climbers Coalition, and Hilary Harris, founder of Evo Rock and board member of Access Fund. They discuss their motivations for starting a gym, their biggest takeaways from Access Fund’s latest indoor education campaign and the role of gyms in relation to climbing advocacy. Together, these two are moving the needle in the right direction educating and communicating effective messaging for climbing advocacy.

Catch up on the top 5 threats facing our nation's public lands with Access Fund's Policy Director, Erik Murdock. From environmental rollbacks to national level policy changes, we cover it all in this episode. Erik's well-rounded experience from work in federal agencies, academia, and non-profits makes him an expert on the topic, and able to take these complicated topics and make them understandable. Learn additional info on this topic from Access Fund's news post: Top 5 Threats to Public Lands.


This month's episode features Aaron Mike. Based out of Tucson, AZ, Aaron operates Pangaea Mountain Guides and is Access Fund's Native Lands Regional Coordinator. As a Navajo, Aaron is well-versed in the issues surrounding climbing and the sovereignty of native lands. We covered the issues associated with climbing and native interests on public and native lands including Bears Ears, Devils Tower, Ship Rock and Canyon Diablo. Learn more about Aaron's work at native-outdoors.com and pangaeamountainguides.com. More information on Devils Tower can be found here.

Follow along in this episode with former Southeastern Climbers Coalition (SCC) executive director, Cody Roney, and current SCC executive director, Andrea Hassler, as we discuss SCC's success stories. This conversation includes the Denny Cove acquisition, some of the ins and outs of running an LCO, and the very bright future of the SCC. Check out more of SCC's work at seclimbers.org.

This month’s episode features a powerful individual in the climbing world, founder of Flash Foxy, Shelma Jun. Shelma started Flash Foxy as a social media platform to provide a way for ladies to share their climbing stoke. It quickly evolved into something much larger, as now she hosts multiple women’s climbing festivals a year to celebrate women in climbing. In addition to her work with Flash Foxy, Shelma holds a seat on the board of Access Fund. She has brought a diverse set of skills to the board, focusing a lot of her work on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI). Conversations around JEDI have become more prevalent in the outdoor industry over the last few years and Shelma along with many others are captaining the ship.

Peter gets an update from the Northeast in this episode from Seth Maciejowskie of the Climbing Resource Access Group-Vermont (CRAG-VT) and Mike Morin from Access Fund as they talk about the many stewardship and land acquisition projects they've been successfully managing. Seth is responsible for a remarkable amount of development in the state during his tenure with CRAG-VT. Mike's experience as a former park ranger and a former member of Access Fund's Conservation Team has paid dividends in his current position as Access Fund's Northeast Regional Director. Both of these guys hail from the Northeast so it's only fitting that they are leading the charge in this region. Photo credit to Travis Peckham.

This episode is an update from Access Fund's Texas Regional Director, Brian Tickle, on the outcome of the Texas Legislature session ending and how the decisions that were made will affect the climbing community. Brian and Access Fund had their plates full while working on influencing policy surrounding funding for state parks and Texas' recreational use statute. Check out these links for further research: Access Fund Lobbies for Increased Funding for Texas State Parks and Texas Adds Rock Climbing Liability Protections for Landowners. Photo credit of Pace Bend to Merrick Ales.

The Executive Director of the Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition (RRGCC), Ashlee Milanich, talks to our host this month about how RRGCC started, public and private land management, current issues in the Red, and what the future holds for RRGCC. Ashlee and the Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition have a lot on their plate to ensure this world class resource stays in good shape for years to come. But they know what to do and how to do it. Photo credit of Red River Gorge image to Elodie Saracco.

The guests for this month's episode came from the Midwest Climbing Advocacy Summit held in Devil's Lake State Park, Wisconsin. Access Fund staff facilitated conversations with local advocates from across the region to learn more about what's happening on a local level. These conversations really drove home the point that the climbing community can learn so much from each local climbing organization on managing climbing access issues.

This is the second part of the interview with Access Fund's Senior Policy Advisor, Jason Keith, and gives an overview of the current affairs surrounding Bears Ears National Monument. Join Peter and Jason as they discuss how the area has changed over the years and what that means for future management over this resource.

This episode's guest is Access Fund's Senior Policy Advisor, Jason Keith. Based in Moab, Utah, Jason runs a small non-profit called Public Lands Solutions. He also spends a lot of his time working with Access Fund to influence policies that impact climbing resources. This episode discusses the Emery County Public Lands Management Act, which was a big part of the public lands package and bolting in wilderness.

Laura Boggess is passionate about cliff ecology and how climbers can coexist with the lichen that lines our crags. Join Peter for Episode 5 as he asks Laura what our role is in protecting and appreciating this delicate resource that provides for the greater ecosystem.

Episode 4 is a conversation with Access Fund's Texas Regional Coordinator, Brian Tickle, and the Texas Climbers Coalition's President, Adam Mitchell. They are working hard to continue the fight for climbing in Texas and the recent acquisition of Medicine Wall outside San Antonio is just one example.

Episode 3 features one of Access Fund's core strengths - stewardship. Hear from our trail building expert, Ty Tyler, on his experiences at crags around the country.

Episode 2 includes interviews from Joe Sambataro, Access Fund's National Access Director/Northwest Regional Director, and Andy Fitz, board member and founder of the Washington Climbers Coalition. This discussion revolves around the beginnings of the LCO and its successful work with various land agencies.

Episode 1 introduces The Climbing Advocate Podcast with interviews taken from attendees at our National Climbing Advocacy Summit.