Climbers Convene in Seattle for National Climbing Advocacy Summit

Last month, over 160 climbing advocates from across the U.S. convened in Seattle, Washington for Access Fund’s annual National Climbing Advocacy Summit. As climbing continues on its exponential growth trajectory, climbers in every corner of the country are facing new challenges in access and conservation. These summits have become an essential resource for bringing climbing advocates from all corners of the country together to learn from each other and from Access Fund staff.

Climbing advocates convene in Seattle, WA, ancestral lands of Duwamish and Puget Sound Salish | Photo courtesy of © Truc Allen

“Whether it’s bolt replacement, building a more inclusive climbing community, buying climbing areas, or tackling major stewardship projects, local climbing advocates are pushing the envelope and finding new solutions to protect climbing for a rapidly growing community,” says Access Fund Affiliate Director, Zachary Lesch Huie. “Our Summits bring climbing advocates together to learn and be inspired.”

Summit attendees were able to choose from a menu of workshops and panels, ranging from low-impact climbing, stewardship, public lands advocacy, fixed anchor management, approaching private landowners, tools for grassroots organizing, and many more.

Access Fund introduced two new panels this year to address growing questions around climate change and climbing on native lands. The Climbing and Climate Change panel explored how climate change is affecting our climbing areas and offered opportunities for climbers to engage in conservation and climate advocacy. The Climbing on Native Lands panel gave climbing advocates a chance to talk with tribal leaders about respectful climbing access and what makes a successful partnership.

Photo courtesy of © Brian Poon

“I came away inspired that there are so many of us working to make things better,” says Eric Ruljancich from Climbing Association of Southern Arizona. “The summit was an excellent opportunity to share information with other dedicated advocates working to make a difference at our climbing areas.”

Special thanks to The Mountaineers for providing an incredible venue for the workshops and to Washington Climbers Coalition for local support.

Access Fund will host its next climbing advocacy summit in the Southwest region next spring, followed by another national summit in the fall of 2020 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Resources from Access Fund summits are available for download at accessfund.org/summits.