2019 Annual Summit

Credit Photo Courtesy of:
Truc Allen Media

The Future of Climbing

October 11-12, 2019
Seattle, WA

Wow, what a weekend!

Nearly 500 climbers joined us on October 11 and 12 for the 2019 Annual Summit — our largest event to date! At the Climbing Advocacy Summit educational workshops and Summit Celebration dinner, we envisioned the future of climbing together.

A special thank you to REI Co-op, The Mountaineers, and all of our amazing sponsors and donors for making this event one to remember. Will we see you next year in Chattanooga?

Click here to view photos from this extraordinary weekend.

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Climbing Advocacy Summit Workshops

Friday, October 11 | 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. and
Saturday, October 12 | 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
The Mountaineers | Northeast Seattle

The National Climbing Advocacy Summit Workshops of 2019 made up Access Fund's largest event yet for climbing advocates with over 160 people attending. On October 11 and 12, Access Fund gathered climbers from around the country in Seattle, Washington, to discuss access issues and how the community can work together to conserve and improve climbing areas.

Featured workshops included:

  • Climbing on Native Lands
  • Low-Impact Outdoor Climbing
  • Approaching Private Landowners
  • Climbing and Climate Change
  • Google Tools for Grassroots Organizations
  • Digital Fundraising & Hosting Successful Events
  • Public Lands Advocacy
  • Working With Public Land Managers
  • Fixed Anchor Management
  • Stewardship Workshop

Check out presentations from the workshops here.

Photo credits: Chris Vultaggio Photography, Brad Wenskoski Photography, D.E. Todd

Summit Celebration Dinner

Saturday, October 12 | 5 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Seattle Marriott Waterfront | Downtown Seattle

Over 360 climbing and conservation community members joined us for dinner on October 12. Attendees raised a glass to Access Fund’s work, enjoyed unique silent and live auctions, celebrated the 2018 Climbing Advocacy Awards, and fueled the ongoing effort to protect and conserve America’s climbing areas. This unforgettable evening inspired us all for future action. Check out our keynote speaker line up below.


With "The Future of Climbing" as this year's theme, we were excited to hear these speakers' stories and ideas for where our community is headed...and their thoughts on how Access Fund fits in.

Nikki Smith: Smith likes to say that she is a climber, photographer, and writer who just happens to be transgender. For 20 years, Smith has been a vibrant part of the outdoor industry, from award-winning photography to soul-baring writing to graphic design, illustration, product design and more. Not only is she a talented artist and advocate, but Smith also avidly participates in the outdoor sports she works in. She is currently an ambassador representing REI, Mountain Hardwear, Grivel, Liberty Mountain, ORGANIC Climbing, Bronwen Jewelry, and others. Whether it’s on the rock face or behind the camera, Smith is all in, showing up and being seen.

Mikey Schaefer: A lifelong climber and world-famous visual storyteller, Schaefer has had his photography featured in publications such as National Geographic Magazine, Alpinist Magazine, and Outside Magazine; his cinematography work has appeared on 60 Minutes, Fox Searchlight, and more. Schaefer served as a Director of Photography for the Academy Award-winning film Free Solo. A longtime Access Fund partner, Schaefer is a tireless advocate for protecting climbing areas and their environments.

Brittany Leavitt: Leavitt has spent the last six years pursuing her passion to lead and teach others how to enjoy the outdoors, while also focusing on clearing pathways for the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) community. Working with organizations such as Outdoor Afro, Brown Girls Climb, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and REI, Leavitt tries to ensure that all voices are heard and accurately represented. Her biggest role to date is the Director of Operations for the annual POC-led climbing event, Color the Crag Climbing Festival.

Photo credits: Chris Vultaggio Photography, Brad Wenskoski Photography