10/06/2022

Indian Creek Season Kickoff

Climber Stewards Add Special Guests, Friendly Competition for Third Season in Indian Creek

The Indian Creek Climber Stewards are back in action for their third season in everyone’s favorite desert splitter paradise. This season, equipped with a full schedule of fun events and special presentations, they’re doubling down on Access Fund’s mission to inspire climbers to adopt a conservation mindset every time they go climbing.

Bears Ears National Monument, UT. Ancestral lands of Navajo, Ute, Ute Mountain, Hopi, and Zuni. © Karson Leonard
Bears Ears National Monument, UT. Ancestral lands of Navajo, Ute, Ute Mountain, Hopi, and Zuni. © Karson Leonard

“We’ve learned that there’s a lot more to an effective Climber Stewards season than just handing out some Wag Bags, telling climbers to stay on trail, and then sending them on their way,” says Andrea Hassler, Access Fund stewardship manager. Hassler works with the stewards to continually improve the program, taking lessons from past seasons and incorporating them into the programming for the upcoming season.

Inspiring Stewardship

There’s a big difference between just telling climbers what the issues are versus giving them the knowledge they need to think about the issues for themselves when they’re out climbing. “Our goal is to equip climbers with the knowledge they need to think critically about how they interact with the land, the rock, the cultural resources, and everything else, every time they go climbing,” Hassler says.

This season, Climber Coffee sessions will feature geologists, archeologists, wildlife biologists, rangers, climbing community partners, and other experts with a special connection to Indian Creek that they want to share with climbers.

To that end, Hassler and Ty Tyler, Access Fund stewardship director, worked with the current class of stewards to pull together a schedule packed with fun events—movie nights, dark sky viewings, Conservation Jeopardy, fireside chats, and more—plus a line-up of guest speakers. "Early on, we were testing the waters to see if we would actually connect with climbers and see what happens,” says Tyler. “Now we've leveled it up to educational programming, conservation-focused trivia and other games, and special presentations from subject matter experts where climbers can really learn something."

Putting Partnerships to Work

The Stewards host Climber Coffee on weekend mornings, where climbers are invited to enjoy a free cup of coffee while chatting with the stewards and other climbers. To build on the existing relationships with our partners in the region as well as offer upgraded education to climbers, Access Fund invited special guests from The Nature Conservancy, Bureau of Land Management, and others to give presentations each weekend at Climber Coffee.

Bears Ears National Monument, UT. Ancestral lands of Navajo, Ute, Ute Mountain, Hopi, and Zuni. © Karson Leonard

“Indian Creek is a lot more than just cracks—there’s cultural resources, there’s wildlife, there’s ranching, once you start looking there’s so much more out there,” Tyler says. “The more climbers can learn about it, the better stewards they can be when out climbing, camping or exploring.” This season, Climber Coffee sessions will feature geologists, archeologists, wildlife biologists, park rangers, climbing community partners, and other experts with a special connection to Indian Creek that they want to share.

In addition to another season of Climber Stewards in the Creek, The Access Fund Conservation Team is partnering with the Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps (ALCC) to take on large-scale technical trailwork. The Conservation Team will be there for a total of seven weeks, during which they’ll work with members of Hopi and Zuni crews from the ALCC to improve the access trails to both Cat Wall and Fin Wall.

In both Indian Creek and the New River Gorge—home to the other team of Access Fund Climber Stewards—the partners that support the Climber Steward program are crucial to its success. Working with stakeholders in their respective regions leveraging their partnerships to deliver stewardship and education above and beyond what Access Fund can accomplish by itself, plus it demonstrates the role climbers can play in the long-term conservation and protection of these places.

The Indian Creek Climber Stewards kicked off Creek season on September 30, and will host climber coffees and crag chats, as well as a movie night, dark sky viewing event, and more throughout the rest of the year. You can check out their full event schedule on our event calendar. If you’re not planning on traveling to the Creek this season, sign up for event alerts to receive regular stewardship opportunity updates in your local climbing area.

Schedule

Climber Coffee Presentations

  • Every Sunday, 10/3 - 12/4 - Plants & Invasive Species w/ Meredith Talbert, Indian Creek Park Ranger
  • Friday, 10/7 - Archeology w/ Audrey Pefferman, BLM Archeologist - Beef Basin
  • Friday 10/14 - Mining, Geology, & OHV/MTB Trails w/ Bob James, BLM geologist & Josh Sherrock, OHV park ranger - Beef Basin
  • Saturday, 10/15 - Durango Climbers Coalition
  • Friday, 10/21 - Ranching in Bears Ears w/ Jed Carling, BLM Rangeland Management Specialist - Beef Basin
  • Saturday, 10/22 - Friends of Indian Creek
  • Saturday, 10/28 - Raptors w/ Melissa Wardell, BLM Wildlife Biologist - Beef Basin
  • Friday, 11/4 - Cultural Resource Protection w/ Audrey Pefferman, BLM Archeologist - Beef Basin
  • Saturday, 11/12 - Dispersed Camping w/ Lauren Hebert, Moab Trail Mix
  • Friday, 11/18 - Maintenance & OHV/MTB Trails w/ TW Carr, BLM maintenance technician & Josh Sherok, OHVpark ranger
  • Saturday, 11/19 - Visit with Respect w/ Friends of Cedar Mesa
  • Friday, 11/25 - Geology, Mining & Paleontology w/ Bob James, BLM Geologist
  • Friday, 12/2 - Bolting Etiquette w/ Audrey Pefferman, BLM Archeologist - Beef Basin

Special Events

  • Every Wednesday - Sunday, 10/5 - 11/13, Conservation Team Adopt a Crag at Cat & Fin Walls. Work 9 am - 5 pm daily; meet anytime.Check with Climber Stewards to confirm location.
  • Friday, 10/28 - Dark Sky Presentation
  • Saturday - Sunday, 10/29-10/30 - Spooky Creek Cleanup
  • Wednesday, 11/2 - Fireside Chat
  • Wednesday, 11/16 - Screaming Sky Crack Film Night
  • Friday, 11/25 - Game Day

Never miss an Access Fund event in your area!
Sign up for event alerts. We'll email you when we're coming to your state and let you know how you can get involved.