Protecting Climbing Starts with Us: A Message from Conrad Anker

Categories: Perspectives

The special connection we have with the rock defines us as climbers and binds us together. I’m ever grateful for the mentors who showed me the ropes and introduced me to the sport. In the past 30 years, it’s the people who have gone above and beyond to keep these places we practice our craft open to the public. It’s not an easy task.

Red Rock Canyon, Nevada. Ancestral lands of Southern Paiute and Western Shoshone. © Bryan Sillorequez.

But we’ve reached a tipping point. Climbing has rocketed into the mainstream. From the Olympics to the Academy Awards, climbing is no longer a niche activity. The number of people recreating outside has increased. The environmental impacts of overuse are widespread, with more people vying for a limited resource. Layer up the global challenge of climate change, and our beloved climbing areas are under duress. If you are reading this, the threats to the lands that sustain us are very real. You understand where we are.

With so many threats to the land, our land managers are overwhelmed and underresourced, and we’re seeing more restrictions. Access Fund is on the front lines fighting to keep the gates to climbing open, but success has become more complicated. As threats to the land increase, we must champion not just access but sustainable access and conservation.

Access Fund is working urgently to shape a sustainable future for climbing, and REI has come forward to match all donations from individual climbers—up to $55,000—from now until June 17 to help us get there.

Access Fund has a plan and a seat at the table with land managers, but it needs our help. Donate today at www.accessfund.org/donate and double your contribution to fight for sustainable access and help protect and conserve the land.

A sustainable future for climbing is possible—and it starts with us. Today, I am making an additional donation, above and beyond my yearly membership gift, to help Access Fund build a sustainable future for climbing. Will you join me?

© Nathan Norby.

The next time you tie in at your favorite crag, you’ll know that by working collectively we are doing our part. It might not be your crag that is under threat, yet the shared responsibility and trust that is the foundation of climbing reminds us that we are all in this together.