7 Climbing Areas Opened

Beddows Dome, CO
The Southern Colorado Climbers Resource Action Group (SoCO CRAG) and the Access Fund have been pursuing climbing access at Beddows Dome, a granite trad climbing area near Cañon City, Colorado. The property is managed by the Colorado State Land Board and leased as active ranch land and wildlife habitat. After a year-long effort, the state and ranching family agreed to one day of climbing access on July 26th. Through the Risk Management & Landowner Support Program, the Access Fund provided SoCO CRAG, the State Land Board, and ranchers additional insurance to ensure a successful day of access. We hope this single day will serve as a positive example of compatible use for the state and our partners to consider expanding access in future years.

Buffalo Creek Park Boulders, NC
After more than two years of advocacy efforts, the City of Lake Lure, North Carolina officially opened Buffalo Creek Park in 2014. Located a few minutes north of the well-known Rumbling Bald climbing area, the park features a sizable boulder field, as well as hiking and mountain biking trails. In 2012, Access Fund worked with Lake Lure to conduct an initial survey and inventory of the area's climbing resources, and provide climbing management consultation. The Access Fund-Jeep Conservation Team later visited the site to provide consultation on climbing access trails. Last year Carolina Climbers Coalition (CCC) initiated a climbing management partnership with Lake Lure, and in August CCC led a trail day building access trails to the boulders. Access Fund continues to maintain contact with CCC and Lake Lure to support climbing management for the area.

Eagle Bluff, ME
The Access Fund and Clifton Climbers Alliance (CCA) purchased Eagle Bluff in central Maine for permanent conservation and recreational access. The property was owned by a climber who passed away in 2013 with no will outlining the future of the area. The climber’s family closed access due to liability concerns and sought to sell. The Access Fund secured an Option Agreement to purchase Eagle Bluff and a recreational lease to reopen this incredible area. In six months, climbers and conservationists from New England and beyond raised over $100,000, and Access Fund assigned the Option Agreement to CCA to complete the purchase. The Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign provided a small loan to bridge the gap between available donations and pending grant applications. A heartfelt thanks to everyone who generously donated to keep Eagle Bluff in climber-friendly hands!

Hidden Valley, VA
The Access Fund and Carolina Climbers Coalition (CCC) acquired 21 acres of the Hidden Valley climbing area in Virginia, which had been closed since 2004 due to management concerns. The landowners approached the Access Fund with an interest in selling, and the Access Fund asked nearby LCOs if any were willing to acquire and hold the property for long-term management. CCC was immediately interested and worked with the Access Fund for 18 months to complete the purchase. The Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign loaned $30,000 to the CCC to reach the $45,000 price tag. The CCC closed on the property in September and is fundraising to pay off the loan and steward this climbing area for generations to come.

Sauratown, NC
The Carolina Climbers Coalition (CCC) had been trying to re-open Sauratown, one of North Carolina's premier crags, since it was closed in 2005. The quartzite cliff is home to steep trad and sport lines, and the classic Sour Balls 5.11, a trad line Todd Skinner called one the single best pitches around. In 2013, CCC brokered an initial deal with the land owner, YMCA Camp Hanes, to open the area for three weekends during prime winter season. That 2013 deal proved to be a successful trial run, and in 2014 CCC and Camp Hanes reached a new 5-year agreement for open climbing access during January and February, seven days a week. Access Fund worked with CCC on initial outreach to Camp Hanes, and consulted with CCC on the lease agreement, risk management strategies, and other aspects of climbing management for the area.

Thacher State Park, NY
Access Fund worked with Thacher Climbers Coalition (TCC) to get climbing approved as an allowed use at John Boyd Thacher State Park in New York. Although not yet developed for climbing, the area features nearly a mile long cliff band of moderate to high-quality limestone that will soon provide hundreds of sport climbs and the only limestone sport climbing in the entire region. This development is precedent setting within the NY State Park system and will hopefully instigate more climber-friendly initiatives throughout the state. TCC is currently working on route development, and the area will hopefully be ready for the general public soon.

Unaweep, CO
Western Colorado Climbers’ Coalition (WCCC) and the Access Fund purchased two major cliffs in Unaweep Canyon that secure permanent public access. Acquisition of the Television Wall and Lower Mothers Buttress culminates a 25-year history of conservation and public access along this portion of the Unaweep/Tabeguache Scenic Byway. This purchase adds 40 acres of land that hosts more than 50 high-quality granite climbing routes to previously protected lands. Public access to these walls was closed three years ago when the property owner sought to sell the property. After two years of negotiations to purchase or lease the cliff line, WCCC and Access Fund reached an agreement to obtain the properties.