AAA Walls Re-opened!

The Upper Peninsula Climbers Coalition (UPCC) and the Access Fund are pleased to announce that the historic AAA Walls are re-opened to recreational climbing.

The rock formations are in a remote area off County Road 510 outside of Big Bay. “The AAA Walls have a long history,” says UPCC President Phil Watts. “We discovered it as a potential climbing crag in 1979, and Bud Place and Hazel Blandford joined me in those early years of exploration.”

However, the area was closed in June of 2014 due to liability concerns. UPCC and Access Fund began working with the landowners—Longyear Realty Corporation, a Marquette-based company that owns the AAA Walls and surrounding timberlands—to allow limited public access.

The solution, was a collaborative recreational license agreement that will enable individuals to use the rock formations for recreational climbing. The license is valid through the end of 2015, and if successful, it will be renewed the following year.

The areas re-opened include the main AAA Wall, first climbed in the late 1970s, and a smaller formation called Secret Crag. The area has a long history of public access—local 4-H groups and Northern Michigan University have led trips there, and numerous youth and school groups utilized this outdoor resource. “We thank all the concerned groups and their work to enable recreational climbing at the crag to resume,” says Phil Watts.

“Rock climbing is a precious resource here in the UP,” says UPCC Treasurer Bill Thompson, “so when it closed last year due to liability concerns, we knew we had to show Longyear that the local community was willing and able to help keep the AAA Walls open.”

“This has been a great partnership with Upper Peninsula Climbers Coalition, Longyear, and local community members,” says Access Fund Executive Director Brady Robinson. “We are excited to play a small role in re-opening the AAA Walls and could not have done it without local leaders and a community-oriented landowner like Longyear.”

We now need the help of climbers and outdoor enthusiasts in the Upper Peninsula and surrounding region to assist UPCC in raising $5,000 towards the annual costs of liability insurance, signage, stewardship, and management. Learn more and make a donation online at www.upperpeninsulaclimbing.com.