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Access Fund's e-Vertical Times #25 (November)
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Access Fund's e-Vertical Times #25 (November)
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November 2002
If you are unable to view the images, please see the Virtual Times at:

1. Anatomy of a Climbing Crisis
2. Access Fund Grants Program Awards Over $100K in 2002
Over $14K Awarded Recently to Support Climber Activism, Conservation and Education
3. Hyalite Canyon Ice Climbing Access Threatened
(Report submitted by Chris Naumann of Barrel Mountaineering)
4. Lower West Bolton Land Donation, VT
(Report submitted by CRAG-VT)
5. Vertical Times Newsletter Goes Digital
6. Holiday Merchandise Sale!

1. Anatomy of a Climbing Crisis
Editorial by John Heisel, publications director

RING! Sounded the 5:00 bell rang of another tedious undergraduate class. I bolted clutching coffee-stained books and rancid climbing slippers. I was off to The Knob. After navigating the snaking switchbacks, I parked my car and crossed crackling leaves into the rhododendron labyrinth. Arriving, I was aghast at a bold NO TRESPASSING sign glaring in ominous red letters. The Appalachian sanctuary was closed, and my spirits sunk. Our community responded by organizing a local climbing organization, hosted public meetings, raising money, and protesting.

Nine years has passed since the closure of my favorite bouldering area. The Access Fund (AF), Boone Climbers Coalition, and Southeast Climbers Coalition continue to fight for access to Howard's Knob in North Carolina, yet it remains closed to climbing. Numerous other jewels of rock have followed a similar fate -- Twin Sisters, Idaho; Hound Ears, North Carolina; Skytop Cliff at the Gunks, New York; and Gibralter Rock, Wisconsin.

Often, when areas are closed, climbers lunge into panic mode - rallying the troops, writing letters, hanging flyers, sending emails, or starting new local organizations. I completely support climbing advocacy, though I question the effectiveness of this "traffic jam" effect when panic erupts. Below are some suggestions to overcome a climbing crisis:

- If a climbing area is closed or access becomes threatened, identify the big picture and determine what level of crisis exists. What is the access status? Has a management plan been created? What actions have been made? Is the AF or a local climbing organization involved?
- Realize there is no blueprint to respond to a climbing crisis. For guidance, refer to “Climbing Management: A Guide to Climbing Issues and the Production of a Climbing Management Plan,” an overview of climbing issues and management approaches in the United State. To download a pdf version, click
- Write letters if a draft management plan has been created (see Activist's Toolbox for guidance at
- Refrain from monkey wrenching, pulling survey tags, tree-sits, climbing illegally, vandalism, and other actions that would irritate landowners or land managers.
- Become educated on the issues related to resources: why is the area threatened, and who is involved?
- Show your landowner or land manager that you care about the climbing resource by volunteering at an Adopt-a-Crag Day event, trail building day, or cleanup with your local climbing organization. If applicable, attend a rock art or cultural resources tour.
- Know your landowner or land manager. Though each may have unique goals, most identify protecting the resource as their primary objective.
- Be patient -- land acquisitions and negotiations move at glacial speed. For example, the AF's acquisition of 120 acres at Baldy Point, Oklahoma has taken 3 years for completion.
- Join the AF or urge friends to join. As climbers continue to multiply, we need to grow our membership to deal with increasing crises. Since 1999, our membership has hovered around 10,000 -- an insufficient sum to serve the 500,000+ climbers in the United States.

To service the plethora of climbers in this country we utilize our mission statement as a "topo" map to guide our policies and programs -- we are a dedicated to keeping climbing areas open and to conserving the climbing environment. Our work depends on the enduring efforts of board members, regional coordinators, and volunteers nationwide. These actions provide the roots of the AF, yet we need your help to continue to grow.

Climb Free!



Climber: Heisel in a "crisis" at Ivoti, Brazil
Photo: Naoki Arima

2. Access Fund Grants Program Awards Over $115K in 2002
Over $14K Awarded Recently to Support Climber Activism, Conservation and Education

With the announcement of its final Climbing Preservation Grants cycle for 2002, the Access Fund increases its total monetary contributions for the year to $115,880. Awarded three times annually, these grants provide assistance for projects that preserve or enhance climbing opportunities and conserve the climbing environment in the United States. Grants approved for this cycle totaled $14,100 and were distributed to support eight separate projects by local climber organizations, public agencies, and conservation groups. This cycle strongly supported local climbing organizations. 23 of 29 applications were approved this year.

"The Access Fund is committed to preserving the climbing experience for present and future generations," said Shawn Tierney, access and acquisitions director, “The growth of the grants program, along with the distribution of over $100,000 this year is due to the generosity of our members and corporate partners.”

The following grants were awarded this round:
$1,500 -- Asheboro Boulderfield Lease, NC
The Carolina Climbers Coalition received a grant to pay for the first year lease of the Asheboro boulder field. After nearly two years of negotiations, the Asheboro Boulders (Ridges Mountain) will be open to the public. Members of the Carolina Climbers Coalition will assist in managing the area.

$1,500 -- Parley's Canyon Acquisition Project, UT
The Trust for Public Land (TPL) received a grant to help pay for the acquisition of a key 14-acre parcel of land that provides access to the popular climbing site at Parley's Canyon. TPL seeks to permanently prevent the Parley’s Canyon trailhead and climbing site from conversion to private residential development. TPL will preserve access to this widely-used outdoor recreation resource by conveying it to the Salt Lake County Parks Department as protected parkland for the public benefit.

$2,100 -- Assessment of Data and Literature Used in Support of Raptor Closures
Dan Mydans received a grant to conduct a comprehensive review of scientific literature regarding human disturbance and guidelines used in managing cliff-nesting raptor closures. The resulting data will help land managers and climbing advocacy groups more accurately determine how disturbance affects these animals, and will aid in limiting future access problems related to arbitrary closures. This research is being supported with a matching grant from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

$1,500 -- Tucson Climbers Association, AZ
The newly formed Tuscon Climbers’ Association (TCA) -- a grassroots climbers’ advocacy group -- received a grant to represent climbers, work on southern Arizona access issues, network with other interest groups, and conserve climbing resources.
Quincy Quarries Restoration Project, MA

$2,000 was awarded to the Boston chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club to perform trail work and graffiti removal at the Quincy Quarries Reservation in Quincy, Massachusetts. This area has been the scene of local climbing since the 1920's, and was one of the first places in the U.S. where "crag climbing" was practiced. With the growth of climbing in the 1960's, the Quincy Quarries became one of the focal points of climbing in New England. Construction of trails will dramatically improve safety for all visitors.

$2,500 -- Use, Demographics, and Economic Impacts of Rock Climbing in the Obed, TN
The University of Tennessee received a grant to conduct several studies that support climbing management at the Obed Wild and Scenic River Recreation Area. The popularity of the Obed for climbers has grown significantly in the past 6-8 years. A recently approved climbing management plan will protect the Obed’s recreational experience for climbers and other visitors, as well as its natural resources. The studies will include research on use, demographics, and economic impacts of rock climbing in the Obed. The National Park Service will also contribute to funding the studies.

$2,000 -- Climbers of Hueco Tanks, TX
The Climbers of Hueco Tanks (CHT), a newly formed grassroots climber advocacy group, received a grant to address the growing needs of climbers at Hueco Tanks State Historic Site. CHT will play a vital role in the backcountry guides program, protecting natural and cultural resources, organizing stewardship projects, and educating Hueco’s numerous visitors.

$1,000 -- Minnesota Climbers Association, MN
The Minnesota Climbers Association, a grassroots climbers’ advocacy group received a grant to support its mission of organizing the local climbing community and providing a forum for communication between government officials and climbers. Climbers formed the group in 2001.

For more information, contact Shawn Tierney, access and acquisitions director, at 303-545-6772 (x105) or

3. Hyalite Canyon Ice Climbing Access Threatened
(Report submitted by Chris Naumann of Barrel Mountaineering)

The Gallatin National Forest has released a Benchmark Travel Management Plan that would seriously impact access to the ice climbing in Hyalite Canyon, south of Bozeman, Montana. The benchmark plan calls for the road to be plowed to the Langhor Campground with a gate blocking the road. Beyond the gate, the remainder of the road is to be groomed for snowmobiles and skiers. If implemented, this plan will force ice climbers to reach the climbs -- a minimum of 8 miles one-way -- by snowmobile or skis.

The process is still very young, and the Forest Service seems willing and ready to listen to public input. It seems that the Forest Service is not aware of how large a user group the ice climbers are or how important Hyalite is to ice climbing in the Northern Rockies. Therefore it is important to realize that the sooner we all contact the Forest Service, the more likely they are to amend the plan and include access to the ice climbs. The first public comment period ends Friday, November 22, 2002
The important message to convey in your comments is that Hyalite Canyon is nationally and internationally known for the quality and quantity of ice climbs. Please also inform the Forest Service of the frequency of your climbing experience in Hyalite. If you have never climbed there, emphasize that you would like to be able to in the future. To review the Travel Plan by visiting

Below are additional points to include in your written comments:
1. Indicate how many times you went ice climbing up in Hyalite last winter. These "user days" are how the Forest Service quantifies a specific use of forestlands.
2. Stress that Hyalite Canyon is the only ice climbing area within 150 miles of Bozeman. Therefore, it is imperative that the Forest Service preserves the access to the ice climbs for this important group of public land users.
3. Point out that snowmobiling and skiing are valid recreational activities, but they can be practiced in many places, whereas waterfall ice climbing is less available. In Hyalite, Langhor and Moser Creek could still be reserved for cross-country skiing. Other areas conducive to non-motorized use, and particularly cross-country skiing, include Brackett Creek, Sourdough/Bozeman Creek, and Bear Canyon. These three geographically different areas are easily accessible from Bozeman and feature topography that lends itself to cross-country skiing. The Benchmark Travel Plan provides plenty of other options for motorized, specifically snowmobile, winter use.
4. Suggest an alternative to the existing Benchmark Plan: plow the road to Hyalite Reservoir and clear out the Blackmore Parking Area as a winter turnaround/parking area. Allow Forest users to drive up the road as long as conditions allowed, similar to the current situation. The reservoir could provide a convenient place to "dispose" of the plowed snow that would ultimately melt and contribute to the water supply during spring and summer. Contact the Forest Service [Must be postmarked by Friday, November 22]

WRITE: Gallatin National Forest
Attn: Steve Christiansen
PO Box 131
Bozeman, MT 59771

E-MAIL: with "Travel Plan Comments" as the subject.

On-line Comment form:

4. Lower West Bolton Land Donation, VT
(Report submitted by CRAG-VT)

CRAG-VT is in the process of receiving a donation of approximately 10 acres at Lower West Bolton, a popular cliff. The donation will ensure that this important resource to the Vermont climbing community will remain open for all to use in the future, and will allow CRAG-VT to continue working with landowners at other local areas to secure legal access for climbers. In order to complete the transaction of the Lower West Bolton property, CRAG-VT needs to have the 10-acre parcel surveyed. The total cost for this project is around $5,000 dollars including the survey, legal costs, closing costs, etc. In addition, CRAG-VT is working with the Bolton Conservation Commission to develop a long-term management plan for all of the climbing areas in Bolton Notch. CRAG-VT needs your help to complete the Lower West project and continue their work on access issues in the state. Check out the new website at for more information.

5. Vertical Times Newsletter Goes Digital

The Vertical Times newsletter is the Access Fund's bimonthly publication which gives you up-to-date news on events, action alerts, area reports, etc. It is a benefit to members and non-members alike. We are offering this
unique publication electronically to save on printing and mailing costs.

In response to the October Virtual Times #24, 50 members have requested not to receive their print copy of Vertical Times (a savings to the Access Fund of $150/year to be utilized for efforts to protect YOUR CLIMBING FUTURE.) To stop receiving the VT print newsletter by mail, please email your name/address to with "Remove Vertical Times" as the subject line. To view back issues of Vertical Times, visit

6. Holiday Merchandise Sale!

Order by December 1 and receive free shipping ($25 minimum order). "Crazy for Crazy Creek Chairs Sale" ($35 while supplies last), baseball caps, t-shirts, and Access Fund O'Piners. These are great gifts for the family or your favorite climbing partner! Order today by calling 303-545-6772 x107 or clicking

1. The Access Fund office in Boulder is the only source of outgoing messages to the lists.
2. The AF will not sell or give away email addresses of V-Times subscribers.
3. V-Times is an announcement-only e-mail list; therefore, you cannot reply to any of the list members.
4. All e-mail addresses will remain confidential with every mail sent.
Virtual Times Policies:
1. The Access Fund office in Boulder is the only source of
outgoing messages to the lists.
2. The AF will not sell or give away email addresses for the V-Times.
3. V-Times is an announcement-only e-mail list; therefore, you cannot reply to any of the list members.
4. All e-mail addresses will remain confidential with every mail sent.

[ This Message was edited by: rrradam on 2002-11-15 17:43 ]

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