Central Appalachia Climbers Coalition and Access Fund Poised to Purchase AVP Boulders

Central Appalachia Climbers Coalition (CACC) and Access Fund are pleased to announce they have secured a purchase agreement to acquire the AVP Boulders in Grayson Highlands, Virginia for permanent conservation and climbing access. Access Fund and CACC are now calling on the community to help raise $14,000 for the purchase and stewardship of the AVP Boulders.

Photo courtesy of © Kai Böttcher

The AVP Boulders offer some of the finest bouldering in Grayson Highlands, with over 50 problems and an easy roadside approach. You can’t beat the steep, powerful bouldering on crimpy, interesting features in a gorgeous Appalachian setting. The area was one of the first to be developed in the late 90s by a small group of southeastern climbers, including James Litz and Suichi “Koma” Komaba. Even now with over a thousand other boulder problems in the adjacent Grayson Highlands State Park (GHSP), the AVP Boulders are some of the most coveted and popular in the area.

In 2016, the private landowners were preparing to put their house and 29-acre lot on the market. A survey showed that the AVP Boulders actually sat on their property and not on neighboring state park land as they had previously thought. Concerned about liability and impeding a future sale, they officially closed the boulders on June 12, 2016.

"It was a huge loss to the climbing community to see no trespassing signs posted and the boulders closed to public access,” says CACC Vice President Aaron Parlier. “Still, climbers have been incredibly respectful of the closure and very supportive while we worked towards a purchase of the property.”

Over the next year, CACC and Access Fund worked with the landowners to negotiate a formal agreement to survey, appraise, and lay the groundwork for climbers to purchase the boulders. The agreement is complete, and with the community’s help, CACC is poised to acquire and permanently protect these fantastic boulders. CACC now has three months to raise the necessary funds to complete the purchase.

We Need Your Help!

The community has until December 12th of this year to raise funds for both the acquisition and future stewardship of AVP Boulders. The first $3,000 will be matched by an Access Fund grant!
Donate Today!

Once the purchase is complete, CACC will work to maintain the boulder field through regular stewardship and trail building events. To ensure long-term protections, CACC may consider transferring the property to the adjoining Grayson Highlands State Park, where bouldering is a welcome and well-established activity.

“We are fortunate that the landowners saw how valued and important the boulders are to the local climbing community and that they agreed to separate the boulders from the home site to preserve future climbing and recreational use," says Access Director Joe Sambataro of the Access Fund. “This is a great example of a local climbing organization teaming up with Access Fund to protect and conserve a valued climbing area.”

The 1.3-acre property begins from the ridge just above the AVP Boulders, at the base of Haw Orchard Mountain and runs adjacent to the State Park boundary, extending down to meet Highway 58. The boulders are situated in a high elevation hardwood forest, offering the same enchanted feel for which Grayson Highlands State Park is regionally renowned. Yellow birch and sugar maple trees tower above the boulders and wild blueberry bushes and rhododendrons grow along the climber approach trails that access the AVP Boulders.

“This is a big win for climbers, Grayson Highlands, and the wider region,” says Zachary Lesch-Huie, Access Fund’s Southeast Regional Director. “These boulders attract more climbers—and needed tourism dollars—to the heart of Appalachia. This is a region rich in climbing resources, and CACC and Access Fund’s work here shows a bright, promising future ahead.”

Please donate today at www.climbcentralappalachia.com/avpboulders.