Climb the Hill Marks Pivotal Moment for Climbers’ Influence in DC

Last month, Access Fund and American Alpine Club teamed up to bring professional climbers, industry representatives, guides, and local climbing advocates to Capitol Hill to advocate for climbers’ interests.

The Climb the Hill event was a pivotal moment for the climbing community. Our policy experts and advocates stood side-by-side with high profile professional climbers—including Tommy Caldwell, Alex Honnonld, Sasha DiGiulian, Kai Lightner, Peter Croft, and Libby Sauter—to present a unique perspective on the importance of public lands and outdoor recreation. The pro climbers provided passionate testimony on their relationships with climbing and public lands.

We had a powerful impact on Capitol Hill through 50 meetings with Congressional offices and land management agencies (BLM, NPS, and USFS), as well as a Senate briefing. Our agenda covered the importance of protecting the Antiquities Act and our National Monuments, as well as the power of the recreation economy, the importance of funding land management agencies, and the need for smart energy policies—all the issues that affect the future of America’s climbing.

A highlight of the trip was an impromptu presentation by former vice presidential candidate, Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), who expressed his deep connection with natural landscapes and his love of outdoor recreation. He highlighted Sasha DiGiulian, who grew up and developed her climbing skills in his state of Virginia.

We were well received by Congress and members of the administration, who listened intently to our experiences with public lands, as well as our perspective on environmental issues and the importance of collaborative natural resource management.

This event elevated climbers’ political capital, and it could not have come at a better time. Right now, the legislative and executive branches of government are pushing a covert dismantling of the regulations, budget, and authority of land management agencies that protect our public lands. With nearly 60% of our climbing areas located on public lands, this is one of the greatest threats to climbing access we have ever faced.

Special thanks to our partners at The American Alpine Club for making this event such a success, as well as all of the pro climbers, local advocates, and partner organizations who lent their talents and perspectives to passionately represent the climbing community. We hope to make Climb the Hill an annual event. This year's event was made possible by the generous support of title sponsor, Adidas Terrex, and supporting sponsors The North Face and Brooklyn Boulders.

Stay tuned for updates on our efforts to protect public lands.

Photos courtesy of © Stephen Gosling