Access Fund Announces 2021 Climbing Advocate Awards

Talented, dedicated, hard-working, motivated, unwavering—we could fill the pages of a spiral notebook and then some with superlatives about the climbing advocacy community. Even if we did, it still wouldn’t do justice to the climbers and climbing organizations we’re lucky enough to work with. Every year, we honor some of the individuals and organizations who stand out for their exceptional commitment to building communities, stewarding climbing areas, and fighting for sustainable and equitable access. Meet the recipients of the 2021 Climbing Advocate Awards.

Matt, Kristen & Heidi Redd

Menocal Lifetime Achievement Award

The Redd family’s lifelong commitment to the conservation of Indian Creek in southern Utah earns them a special place among our awardees this year: the Menocal Lifetime Achievement Award. Their management of Dugout Ranch’s 5,200 acres and conservation efforts in the adjacent 300,000+ acres of public land represents a forward-thinking approach to land management and stakeholder partnership. Over the years, the family has developed—and continues to support and nurture—partnerships with the climbing community and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), working closely with Access Fund and Friends of Indian Creek to address changes and shared concerns in Indian Creek.

From left: Matt, Heidi, and Kristen Redd. © James Q. Martin.
Phillip Carrier, Bebie Leadership Award

Phillip Carrier

Bebie Leadership Award

Presenting this year’s Bebie Leadership Award recipient: Phillip Carrier. His exemplary leadership as a board member of the Illinois Climbers Association (ICA) for over 10 years guided the organization through several successful acquisition projects, including permanent protection of the Holy Boulders and House Boulders. Major bolt replacement efforts, opening climbing access in state and local parks, expanding equitable access, and managing relationships with land managers are among his many accomplishments with ICA.

Kate Beezley

Local Leader & Stewardship Award

We’re thrilled to honor Kate Beezley, an outstanding leader who was nominated by the climbing community. As executive director of Boulder Climbing Community (BCC), Kate has put in years of hard work building relationships with land managers in the area, professionalizing the BCC, pushing for diversity and inclusion within the organization, and expanding its programmatic capabilities.

Texas Lady Crushers, Equitable Access Award

Texas Lady Crushers

Equitable Access Award

Though founded only a few years ago, Texas Lady Crushers (TxLC) has already made a huge impact. The rapidly growing Texas climbing community has a great need for inclusivity, education, and community building—precisely the gap that TxLC’s founder Emilie Hernandez envisioned the organization would fill. Since 2018, TxLC’s climbing meetups, community events, and partner events with other orgs and guide companies have helped educate a wide swath of Texas women and gender nonbinary climbers.

Tom Caldwell, Local Leader & Stewardship Award

Tom Caldwell

Local Leader & Stewardship Award

Leader, steward, and climber Tom Caldwell served the climbing community as president of Carolina Climbers Coalition (CCC) for three years, guiding the group’s programmatic work to steward and protect the climbing areas of the Carolinas. He played a key role in a diverse set of CCC initiatives, including forming the C4 Trail Crew, which hired locals who had lost their income during the pandemic; opening new climbing areas; and working with biologists to monitor raptor progress—handling all of these projects with decisive leadership.

Eric Barnard, Climbing Access & Organizer Award

Eric Barnard

Climbing Access & Organizer Award

Nominated by the local community, Access Fund is excited to honor Eric Barnard’s advocacy and conservation efforts for both rock and ice climbing in southeast Minnesota. Barnard played a pivotal role in forging a partnership with the city of Winona to form the Recreation Alliance of Winona, which created and maintains the Winona Ice Park. Today, Barnard continues to volunteer his time as part of the board of the Minnesota Climbers Association.

Tim Golden, Local Leader & Organizer Award

Tim Golden

Local Leader & Organizer Award

Tim receives this award thanks to his decade of leadership in California climbing advocacy. He helped form two of the largest climbing organizations in the state. As the second president of the Bay Area Climbers Coalition, Golden doubled the team and the organization’s capacity. He then went on to help found Bishop Area Climbers Coalition. Golden’s admirable leadership and organizational skills have guided his community through countless advocacy projects.

Travis Peckham, Climbing Access & Organizer Award

Travis Peckham

Climbing Access & Organizer Award

Several conservation projects—both big and small—in Vermont bear Travis Peckham’s fingerprints. His leadership with Climbing Resource Access Group of Vermont (CRAG-VT) ushered the organization through several key conservation, acquisition, and stewardship projects to help protect, preserve, and open climbing access throughout the state. His almost two-decade stint as a board member of CRAG-VT ended in 2021, but we have no doubt he’ll be front and center for many volunteer projects to come.

Tiffany Blount, JEDI Advocate & Local Organizer Award

Tiffany Blount

JEDI Advocate & Local Organizer Award

Torne Valley Climbers’ Coalition, Brown Girls Climb, Black Girls Boulder, Try Hard Crew, Young Women Who Crush—the list of organizations Tiffany Blount dedicates her time to, as everything from board member to volunteer, leaves no doubt as to why her community nominated her for an award. Her efforts to increase education and opportunities for Black women to not only climb but also learn to develop routes has had a positive and meaningful impact on the inclusiveness of the climbing community.

Nate McKenzie, Climbing Access & Equitable Access Award

Nate McKenzie

Climbing Access & Equitable Access Award

Nate McKenzie received this award thanks to community nomination—a surefire sign of a standout advocate. Through years of service to Ragged Mountain Foundation, he’s played a critical role in protecting climbing access throughout the Northeast. His work with Paradox Sports to create climbing opportunities for adaptive climbers contributes to the important work of fostering a diverse and welcoming environment for all climbers.

Andrea Ramos Campos, Local Leader & JEDI Advocate Award

Andrea Ramos Campos

Local Leader & JEDI Advocate Award

Andrea Ramos Campos’ service on several committees with Salt Lake Climbers Alliance (SLCA) earned her a well-deserved nomination from the climbing community. We’re thrilled to honor not only her work with the SLCA’s events committee to engage the Salt Lake climbing community, but also her work forming and leading the organization’s JEDI committee. Her unwavering dedication to climbing and her local climbing organization sets an incredible example for all climbers.

Northern Arizona Climbers Coalition, Local Organizer & Steward Award

Northern Arizona Climbers Coalition

Local Organizer & Steward Award

A single award is hardly enough to honor the great work that Northern Arizona Climbers Coalition (NAZCC) does on behalf of climbers in the area, but it’ll have to do for now. Their reach extends beyond the organization’s billboard projects—like protecting The Pit and Oak Creek Canyon—spreading across the vast and varied climbing through northern Arizona. Its comprehensive programming includes stewardship events, extensive rebolting projects, and partnership building with local land managers, among other initiatives dedicated to climbing advocacy.

Red River Gorge Climbers' Coalition, Land Conservation Award

Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition

Land Conservation Award

This year, the Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition (RRGCC) made its final payments on the Access Fund loan that helped the group acquire Bald Rock Recreational Preserve, closing the books on its latest successful acquisition project. Home to some of the Red’s most popular crags, Bald Rock is yet another feather in the cap of an organization that goes above and beyond its mission of protecting public access to rock climbing in the Red River Gorge.

Epic Water Filters, Corporate Responsibility Award

Epic Water Filters

Corporate Responsibility Award

Epic Water Filters and Access Fund share many of the same values—chiefly, the desire to leave the planet a little better than we found it—and we’re proud to have the brand as a partner. The company’s water bottles with built-in filters are designed to reduce the need for single-use plastic water bottles, a mission with clear benefits for the environment. Its support for Access Fund’s mission to protect America’s climbing is exceptionally beneficial to not only the climbing community but to the preservation of Earth’s wild places.