05/26/2021

Access Fund Announces 2020 Climbing Advocate Awards

We're proud to announce the recipients of the 2020 Climbing Advocate Awards. For over 20 years, Access Fund has been recognizing the outstanding work of climbing advocates across the country. Among this year’s honorees are rockstar community builders, climbing stewards, equitable access leaders, and land conservationists. These individuals and organizations stand out in their commitment to the American climbing community.

Climbing Advocate Awards 2020


Bill Dockins

Menocal Lifetime Achievement Award

We are honored to present Bill Dockins with the Menocal Lifetime Achievement Award for his expansive contributions to climbing advocacy in Montana. Founder of the Southwest Montana Climbers Coalition (SMCC), Bill's efforts have been instrumental in improving and securing access to countless climbing areas in the region. He also led early bolt replacement efforts, and continues to contribute to this work. As an attorney, Bill has also provided priceless pro bono counsel to SMCC. Through the years, he has remained as a consistent voice of reason as climbing evolved from a fringe pursuit to a globally appreciated outdoor activity.

Peter Cody

Peter Cody

Bebie Leadership Award

We are thrilled to present New York’s Peter Cody with a Bebie Leadership Award for his leadership of Gunks Climbers Coalition and his role in the acquisition of Ant Lion Crag on Millbrook Mountain. Thanks to Peter, the Gunks has a new, permanently protected climbing area. Peter continues to use his trademark relationship-building skills to explore new opportunities for access along the Shawangunk ridgeline.

Sarah Garlick

Sarah Garlick

Community Leader: Local Organizing

We are thrilled to present New Hampshire’s Sarah Garlick with a Climbing Advocate Award for her years of dedication and key role in founding, organizing, and leading Friends of the Ledges, a local climbing organization protecting climbing in the eastern White Mountains of New Hampshire and Maine. Under Sarah’s leadership, the organization has grown its stewardship, land conservation, and land manager relations efforts.

Angela Lee

Angela Lee

Community Leader: JEDI, Local Organizing and Climbing Access

We are honored to recognize Angela Lee’s work in Colorado’s San Luis Valley. Angela is the co-founder and president of the local climbing organization, San Luis Valley Climbers Alliance (SLVCA), and an outspoken leader in incorporating justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) principles into climbing advocacy. With SLVCA, she also played an instrumental role in working with a private landowner to permanently protect access to Denny’s climbing area.

Memphis Rox

Memphis Rox

Community Leader: Equitable Access

We are excited to present Memphis Rox in Tennessee with a Climbing Advocate Award for demonstrating a revolutionary model for equitable climbing access. Memphis Rox has redefined traditional notions of what gyms are and how they operate by integrating itself into a low-income community and instituting a sliding pay scale. As part of its programming, Memphis Rox also offers a host of social services—such as Covid support, healthy food programs, exercise, and exposure of youth to the outdoors—that make it oriented as much around justice, equity, and service as it is around climbing.

Eric Ruljancich

Eric Ruljancich

Community Leader: Stewardship

We are excited to recognize Eric Ruljancich with a Climbing Advocate Award for his service on the board of Climbing Association of Southern Arizona and his stellar leadership on the cutting edge of climbing area stewardship. Eric has led numerous community stewardship projects at places like Mt. Lemmon and Cochise stronghold.

Pam Neal

Pam Neal

Community Leader: Stewardship & Advocacy

We are honored to recognize Pam Neal for her work with the Southern California Mountaineering Association (SCMA), where she has provided climbing advocacy and stewardship leadership in her work with California State Parks. Pam has helped organize many Adopt a Crag trail days at areas like Point Dume, Echo Cliffs, and Malibu Creek, and has worked with land management agencies to protect sensitive and endangered species in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Jeremy Park

Jeremy Park

Community Leader: Stewardship

We are excited to present Jeremy Park with a Climbing Advocate Award for his volunteer leadership on the board of Washington Climbers Coalition (WCC). Over the past 10 years, Jeremy has helped the WCC with event organizing, fundraising, and community outreach, and has played a critical role in organizing and funding the four-year Washington Climbing Conservation Initiative.

Dave Pagel

Dave Pagel

Community Leader: Climbing Access & Local Organizing

We are proud to present Dave Pagel with a Climbing Advocate Award for his role in opening the Duluth Ice Park, a new ice climbing area in Minnesota. Alongside a dedicated community of advocates and stewards, Dave played a key role in leading and organizing the community and the Duluth Climbers Coalition.

Ryan Shipp

Ryan Shipp

Community Leader: Local Organizing & Stewardship

Nominated by the community, we are thrilled to present Ryan Shipp with a Climbing Advocate Award for his outstanding leadership of South Central Pennsylvania Climbers (SCPC). Ryan has brought the community together to steward and protect climbing areas like Governor Stable, Mt. Gretna, Chickies Rock, and more. His passion for getting youth and people out to climb in a responsible and safe fashion is exemplified by his work to help organize SCPC’s annual Safe Harbor gym-to-crag event.

Alexis Krauss

Alexis Krauss

Community Leader: Youth, Access, and Equitable Climbing

Nominated by the community, we are thrilled to honor Alexis Krauss with a Climbing Advocate Award for her leadership as a founding member of Young Women Who Crush (YWWC), a rock climbing and leadership development program serving young women and gender expansive youth from New York City public schools. Alexis has brought together a diverse team of co-founders and mentors to help inspire young women to recognize their strength and realize their potential through a discipline they may not have otherwise experienced: climbing.

Van Smith

The Vansmith

Corporate Responsibility

Access Fund is thrilled to honor The Vansmith with a Climbing Advocate Award for its commitment to protecting America’s climbing. The Vansmith selected Access Fund as its nonprofit of choice to receive grant funds from its campaigns with Omaze, which offer outdoor lovers the chance to win a brand new Sprinter van with a custom Vansmith conversion. These campaigns have brought in over $2 million to help protect America’s climbing.

Carolina Climbers Coalition

Carolina Climbers Coalition

Land Conservation Award

Access Fund is honored to recognize Carolina Climbers Coalition with a Land Conservation Award for permanently protecting the Buckeye Boulders in North Carolina. This multi-year conservation project ensures long-term climber-friendly management of Buckeye Boulders and also protects access to the adjacent Barn Boulders.

Rumney Climbers Association

Rumney Climbers Association

Land Conservation Award

Access Fund is excited to honor Rumney Climbers Association (RCA) with a Land Conservation Award for permanently protecting Rumney’s Northwest Crags in New Hampshire. In this multi-year conservation project, RCA used an Access Fund loan to help purchase the last tract of private land at Rumney Rocks and build sustainable trails and access to the area. RCA then transferred the property to White Mountain National Forest for long-term, climber-friendly management.

Southeastern Climbers Coalition

Southeastern Climbers Coalition

Land Conservation Award

Access Fund is proud to honor Southeastern Climbers Coalition (SCC) with a Land Conservation Award for permanently protecting Denny Cove in Tennessee. In this multi-year conservation project, SCC used an Access Fund loan to acquire this new climbing area and make significant investments in sustainable access and trails. SCC then transferred the property to South Cumberland State Park for long-term, climber-friendly management.