Episode #21

Credit Photo Courtesy of:
Brian Poon


About this Episode

My guests today are Loryn Posladek and Kyle Leihsing. Together they make up the Access Fund–Jeep 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, educate climbers on sustainable trail use, and host tabling events at gyms and climbing festivals.

Their current project involves working on an accessible/adaptive trail to a crag outside of Estes Park, Colorado. Working closely with adaptive climber Quinn Brett, they are aiming to set a standard for adaptive access on trails to climbing areas. Prior to their work in Estes, they were quarantined in Indian Creek for an extensive period of time, working on trails with the West Conservation Team with no volunteers! This speaks to the level of passion and dedication they have for caring for our nation’s climbing.

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.


0:23 – Current fieldwork

1:30 – Accessible/adaptive trail work

10:4 5– “Invisible” recreation management

12:56 – Team intros

15:21 – Defining stewardship

21:27 – Geographical differences in stewardship

23:44 – Managerial differences in stewardship

25:00 – Structural considerations for building trails

27:46 – Implications of COVID-19 on stewardship

33:44 – Being “guest facing” and interacting with climbers

39:34 – Importance of volunteering

44:00 – Operations of the national team vs. the regional teams

46:55 – The importance of stewardship in “protecting America’s climbing”

Climbing Area Stewardship- https://www.accessfund.org/learn/for-advocates/climbing-area-stewardship

Restoring Climbing Areas- https://www.accessfund.org/our-causes/sustainable-climbing-areas

Can climbers have save the economy- https://www.accessfund.org/open-gate-blog/a-bold-plan-can-climbers-help-save-the-economy

Idaho Conservation Corps- https://www.idahocc.org/

Rocky Mountain Conservancy- https://rmconservancy.org/