Credit Photo Courtesy of:
Andrew Burr


Historic uses and objects at many of our climbing areas date back thousands of years, from prehistoric cultures to early pioneers, but only need to be 50+ years old to gain protected status. Climbers are not always the first visitors to cliffs and boulders, and many of the places we love to climb have provided safe haven and spiritual connections for our ancestors and have a rich history and significance to Native Americans.

Cultural resources are defined as: physical evidence or place of past human activity: site, object, landscape, structure; or a site, structure, landscape, object or natural feature of significance to a group of people traditionally associated with it. Land managers across the nation grapple with how to protect these cultural resources—which range from historic cabins to pictographs—while allowing public access. Access Fund works hard to advocate for balanced solutions that allow for climbing while protecting cultural resources.

You can protect climbing access by respecting and not disturbing these treasures of our history.

Essential Skills

  • If you're planning to climb in a place known for cultural resources, do your research ahead of time. Mountain Project, the local guidebook, and the land manager's website are all good places to start.
  • Respect all closures—they are in place to protect cultural resources and not abiding by them will jeopardize access.
  • Do not touch or climb on pictograms or petroglyphs.
  • Do not remove any artifacts. If you're not sure if something qualifies as an artifact, leave it alone.

Be an Upstander, Not a Bystander

Have you committed to The Climber's Pact yet?


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Resource Center

Climbing & Cultural Resources: A Tough Balance

​Negotiating a cultural resource closure can be some of the trickiest and most difficult advocacy work Access Fund does.​

Why You Shouldn't Climb Devils Tower in June

Access Fund asks that climbers refrain from climbing Devils Tower during the month of June. Doing so will show respect to the Native American community and ensure future climbing access.

Anatomy of a Responsible Climber

Anatomy of a Responsible Climbing Infographic