09/20/2019

A Report from Climb the Hill

This year's Climb the Hill event in Washington, DC was a fantastic day of lobbying, alongside our partners at American Alpine Club and over 60 pro athletes, top outdoor brands, non-profit conservation partners, and community advocates. We brought these folks together to represent the climbing community on issues critical to the future of climbing, and we made some great progress. We had over 60 meetings with lawmakers, hosted a Senate reception, attended a Congressional hearing on recreation, and had some fun doing it!

Access Fund Executive Director Chris Winter shows off his lobby day secret weapon.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • We pushed back on the administration’s aggressive "energy dominance" agenda, which is threatening our climbing areas, public lands, and surrounding communities. We met with congressional offices and made some great progress garnering support for a new bill that aims to reform troubling new oil and gas leasing policies. Learn more about this issue here.
  • We spoke out about lack of funding for public lands. As climbers, we see firsthand how much our national parks and forests are suffering from crumbling infrastructure and overuse, as well as the ongoing public lands leadership crisis. We shared firsthand experiences and pushed Congress to support the Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act, and support full funding for the Land & Water Conservation Fund.
  • We stood firm on protecting America’s exceptional landscapes through conservation designations, like national monuments and Wilderness areas. We asked Congress to oppose initiatives that undermine the Antiquities Act (and the associated reduction of Bears Ears National Monument) and rallied their support on several bills that aim to protect exceptional landscapes through Wilderness and other conservation designations.
  • We pushed for action on climate change, which is adversely affecting our climbing environments and marginalized communities. Climbers shared firsthand experiences of climate change on our public lands, and asked for regulation on carbon pollution, protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, fulfillment of the Paris Climate Agreement, and funding for renewable energy research.
  • We brought a strong Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (JEDI) Taskforce with us to help train Climb the Hill advocates on how to amplify the voices of our diverse climbing community. Together, we raised awareness on Capitol Hill on the unique challenges experienced by people of color, indigenous communities, LGBTQ+ folks, and people with disabilities in accessing and enjoying our public lands. Meet the JEDI advocates and learn about their work.

A big shout-out to all of the advocates who showed up to help us elevate these critical issues. Tommy Caldwell may have put it best:

"It was a great day. I feel like momentum is shifting. This is our fourth year back for Climb the Hill and people anticipate our arrival now. They want to see us, and we're talking about these issues enough that bills are starting to pass. It's making a big difference."

Here are a few photos of our advocacy in action, and don't forget to support our critical work to protect public lands.

Row 1: Climb the Hill advocates receive training at local REI prior to the lobby day; Climbers meet with National Park Service leaders. Row 2: Alex Honnold meeting with CO Rep. Joe Neguse; New York lobby team stops by NY Rep. Alexandia Ocasio-Cortez's office. Row 3: Alex Honnold, Sash DiGiulian, Tommy Caldwell, Shelma Jun, and Taimur Ahmad (not pictured) on a panel at Senate reception; Tommy Caldwell blows Senator Maria Cantwell's mind with photos from his recent trip to the Arctic. Row 4: Climb the Hill advocacy team

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Our nation's capitol in Washington, DC is located on the ancestral lands of Manahoac.