2020 Annual Summit

Credit Photo Courtesy of:
Jamie Bloomquist, "Denali Vision", 1999

Coming this Fall

A virtual experience with Erik Weihenmayer

COVID-19 has significantly impacted the way we are meeting our mission at Access Fund. More than ever, we are reminded of our commitment to the health, safety, and well-being of our staff, board, volunteers, and supporters. After careful consideration, we have decided to transform our Annual Summit event into a virtual affair.

Our national Climbing Advocacy Workshops and Summit Celebration Dinner will look different this year. We are disappointed that we will not be gathering with you in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but we are thrilled to provide you with a unique, engaging, and impactful online experience!

We invite all climbing and conservation advocates and Access Fund supporters to join us for both events. Check out more information below.

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Virtual Summit Celebration Fundraiser

October 7, 2020

Mark your calendars! Join us in October for a celebration like no other. Our virtual Summit Celebration will include a robust online auction, interactive gatherings, a live program with keynote speaker Erik Weihenmayer, and much more. By celebrating with us, you will fuel the ongoing effort to protect and conserve climbing in America and beyond. This year's celebration theme: Climbing Through Adversity We love climbing because it is difficult and challenging, from the moment we step off the deck to when we eventually top out. Working through these challenges - some physical, some mental - focuses us in our craft and in our daily lives. Climbers are resilient, resolute, and we get things done.

Access Fund has continued to thrive and succeed in our mission to protect America’s climbing—all while we confront a pandemic and racial upheaval in a critical election year. Our conservation teams started working during lockdown, we’ve continued to buy climbing areas, and our policy work (so often enabled by your action) has netted multiple victories.

We need your help to keep up the momentum. Join us! More information will be available soon.

About keynote speaker Erik Weihenmayer

Erik on Red Tower. Photo by Heinz Zak.

Erik Weihenmayer is one of the most celebrated and accomplished athletes in the world. In 2001, he became the only blind person in history to climb Mount Everest. When he stood on the top of Carstensz Pyramid in 2008, he completed his quest to climb all of the Seven Summits-the tallest peak on each of the seven continents.

Erik is the author of the best selling memoir, Touch the Top of the World, which was made into a feature film, as well as The Adversity Advantage, which shows readers how to turn everyday struggles into everyday greatness. His latest book, No Barriers: A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon is more than an adventure story; it illuminates how we move forward in our lives towards growth and purpose – despite the barriers that get in our way. He is an internationally recognized speaker and brings his message of living a No Barriers Life to audiences around the world.

In September 2014, Erik and blinded Navy veteran, Lonnie Bedwell, kayaked the entire 277-miles of the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River, considered one of the most formidable whitewater venues in the world. Erik continually seeks out new adventures, focusing his eforts on empowering people traditionally swept to the sidelines of life. He founded an organization called No Barriers, which helps people with challenges tap into the human spirit, break through barriers, and contribute to the world. Learn more about Erik here.

Erik Climbing in Telluride, CO. Photo by Connor Koch.

Virtual Climbing Advocacy Conference

November 14 and 15, 2020 - Registration coming soon!

Calling all local climbing organizations, volunteers, and passionate climbers! Join us in November for educational workshops, panel discussions, and training sessions that will provide you with the tools you need to advocate for and protect the climbing areas you love. This year, we bring a global perspective to local solutions with a cadre of insights and expertise from around the world. This is a great opportunity to learn new advocacy skills and play an important role in protecting America’s climbing areas and wild places.

Last year’s conference included sessions on the following:

  • 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
Photos by Truc Allen Media and Haeda Photography.

Why a global perspective on local solutions?

Access Fund’s work nationally and locally can be replicated anywhere, and we believe international views can improve, as well as shape, our local action. This fall, we will convene climbing advocates and stewards from around the world to listen, share, and learn from each other’s challenges and achievements. Hear from grassroots champions, conservation professionals, Olympic athletes, and more. Geographic diversity makes us stronger, and together we can protect the world’s climbing, its landscape, and the environment we hold dear.

Apply to Present
For the first time, Access Fund is taking applications from speakers who are interested in presenting at the conference. View application and more information here.

Questions about the event?

Do not hesitate to contact Heather Distad and Jenna Winkler at [email protected]