07/25/2022

Climbers Buy New Boulder Field in North Carolina

Purchase Secures 32 Acres of Hardwood Forest; More Than 100 Boulder Problems

GWALTNEYS TOWNSHIP, N.C. — Carolina Climbers’ Coalition (CCC) and Access Fund are pleased to announce the purchase and protection of the Maibauer Boulders in North Carolina. The purchase secures 32 acres of hardwood forests topped with a compact cluster of high-quality granite boulders within the Brushy Mountains. In an area of the state without many climbing destinations, the Maibauer Boulders will provide sustainable recreation access and conservation value for generations to come.

Carolina Climbers’ Coalition members and partners at the Maibauer Boulders. Ancestral Lands of Keyauwee, Cheraw, Catawba, and Yesan (Tutelo).

“The purchase of the Maibauer Boulders represents CCC’s fifth land acquisition,” says CCC Executive Director Mike Reardon. “This prime granite bouldering area, less than 90 minutes from Charlotte, provides Carolina climbers with yet another unique winter destination. It is a landmark purchase for recreation and conservation in Alexander County and the greater Brushy Mountain range.”

Mike Reardon on "Fickle Arete." Ancestral lands of the Keyauwee, Cheraw, Catawba, and Yesan (Tutelo). © Millsaps Creative.

Until today, access to this quality boulder field—sometimes known as the Love Valley Boulders, Hiddenite Boulders, or Local Boulders—was only by word of mouth. When the area’s owners decided to sell their property, CCC and Access Fund worked to secure climbing access to the area in perpetuity. This process concluded when CCC purchased the property using an Access Fund conservation loan.

“This purchase fits perfectly within CCC’s core mission to protect, preserve, and expand climbing access,” says CCC President Andrew AJ Jackson. “Purchases like the Maibauer Boulders ensure permanent recreational access for climbing and other outdoor user groups. It’s a model for conservation we need to replicate as often as we are able.”

Development of the Maibauer Boulders began in the 1990s. Today, more than 100 boulder problems can be found scattered along the ridge. These documented problems range from V0-V9, including many excellent lines in the V3-V6 range.

“Sometimes the only way to protect a climbing area is to buy it,” says Access Fund National Acquisitions Director Brian Tickle. “Thanks to a longstanding partnership between Access Fund and CCC, North Carolina is gaining yet another free and open climbing area that was once only accessible to those fortunate enough to have known the area’s owners.”

Liam Jackson on the "Sun Wall Dyno." Ancestral lands of the Keyauwee, Cheraw, Catawba, and Yesan (Tutelo). © CCC.

The previous owners of the property, Karl and Merna Hesse (née Maibauer), were always friendly toward climbers. When they decided to sell the property, Triple Crown founder and longtime Maibauer Boulders climber Jim Horton took action to protect climbing access. Horton contacted CCC and local advocate Steve Pope and arranged a meeting with the Hesses. They discussed the importance of the boulder field for both recreational climbing and conservation and soon agreed on a conservation purchase of the property.

“Merna Maibauer and I are a team that advocates for the environment,” Karl Hesse says. “Merna helped to preserve these hills, big rocks, and woods that we love.”

CCC now needs the help of local climbers and conservationists to raise $135,000 to pay back the loan used to purchase the property, to build the parking lot, and to fund the long-term stewardship and legal defense costs associated with owning the Maibauer Boulders. For more information on how to ensure the permanent protection of the Maibauer Boulders, visit carolinaclimbers.org/maibauer.

Access Details
Though purchased by CCC, the Maibauer Boulders will be temporarily closed to public access pending the completion of a parking area and necessary trail work. Follow CCC at carolinaclimbers.org/events to stay informed about volunteer days.

Map of the Maibauer Boulders

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About Carolina Climbers’ Coalition
Formed in 1995, the Carolina Climbers’ Coalition is a 501c(3) nonprofit with a mission to protect, preserve, and expand climbing opportunities in the Carolinas and beyond. CCC works directly on climbing management with federal and state land management agencies, municipalities, partnering nonprofits, land trusts, and private landowners to open and maintain climbing areas in North and South Carolina, as well as parts of Virginia and Tennessee. CCC’s membership averages over 5,000 volunteer hours per year engaging in stewardship projects such as trail work, bolt replacement, graffiti removal, and other sustainability projects. CCC has successfully worked with land managers to open dozens of climbing areas and actively maintains 30+ climbing areas. The Maibauer Boulders represent the CCC’s fifth successful land acquisition project. For more information, visit carolinaclimbers.org.

About Access Fund
Access Fund is the national organization that leads and inspires the climbing community toward sustainable access and conservation of the climbing environment. With nearly 25,000 members nationwide, we inspire and serve the entire climbing community through our conservation, stewardship, policy, and other programmatic work. Access Fund is an accredited land trust that manages a $1.3 million revolving loan fund and holds conservation easements across the country. Since its formation in 1991, Access Fund has successfully completed 90 land acquisition projects resulting in the permanent protection of thousands of acres of climbing areas and millions of dollars in land value. For more information, visit accessfund.org.