Give it Hell, Like Annabelle

Categories: Community

On November 2, 2020 we lost Annabelle McClure, a treasured member of the Access Fund family, after she succumbed to injuries sustained in a car accident. Annabelle was a dear friend and co-worker, and we join her family and friends not only in profound grief, but also in celebration of her life and amazing spirit.

“Annabelle brought so much joy and passion to her climbing and her vision for protecting the places we love,” says Chris Winter, Executive Director. “She inspired all of us here at Access Fund and so many people around the country to care for the land and to have a great time doing it. We offer our deepest condolences to her friends and family.”

Annabelle served on the Access Fund Conservation Team national crew for two years, 2016-2017, traveling the country with her best friend and crew-mate, Andrea Hassler, to steward climbing areas and inspire volunteers. Annabelle cared passionately about being a good steward of the earth. She had a deep appreciation for the beauty of all beings in our world. She carried this admiration with her on every climb and every conservation project, always stopping to admire the tiniest of flowers or basking in the shadows of the tallest peaks. She was so dedicated to taking care of the places that she loved.

Not only was Annabelle an incredibly hard worker, skilled trail builder, and talented climber, she was a total force of nature. During her time with Access Fund, she built massive stone structures in Indian Creek, connected with youth climbing teams, hosted beer nights with local climbing organizations, and kept Access Fund staff laughing hysterically.

“I had the pleasure of managing Annabelle during her time with Access Fund, and it truly felt like managing a rock star,” says Ty Tyler, Stewardship Director. “Rarely did I come across a climbing crew that didn’t know who Annabelle was, who didn’t smile at remembering her name—like remembering the moment they’d met a hero.”

Annabelle approached life and climbing with confidence, a disarming humility, and a huge smile that invited friendship, partnership, and adventure. She was always ready to give it hell, and bring you along with her, because she knew you could too—whether you believed in yourself or not.

“I remember climbing with Annabelle once at T Wall, and she was ready to rumble,” says Zachary Lesch-Huie, Southeast Regional Director. “So I said to myself, ‘Ok buddy, Annabelle’s ready, let’s go.’ We rolled for a few pitches, then I made a gumby mistake and fixed my rope in a crack, and someone had to prusik up the line to rescue me. Our sweet flow train slammed to a stop, but Annabelle downshifted so smoothly and started cracking jokes. We had some solid laughs at my expense.”

For Annabelle, climbing was about more than just the send. It was about the people she climbed with and the experiences she had along the way. Her psych was infectious and she was often more stoked for the accomplishments of her partners than her own feats—of which there were many. Over the years, she inspired so many people to have the same strong sense of adventure, stoke, and joy—many of whom would claim, to this day, that they had their grandest adventure with her leading the charge.

“On an early spring morning, Annabelle and I headed up to the Naked Edge and she shyly asked if she could lead some of the pitches,” says friend and legendary stonemaster Peter Croft. “I said, ‘lead some or lead all, fine by me.’ Of course she led all of them, flawlessly. She made that choice not out of competition or ego, but out of that joyous hunger for wanting the fullest experience she could. Although we’re still reeling from this tragedy, Annabelle was a gift while she was here—and we can hold onto that. She was the walking embodiment of the idea that life is more than just existence, it’s a force, and she owned it like a Jedi.”

"Annabelle's light will continue to shine bright in all of those who had the privilege to know her," says longtime friend and adventure partner, Andrea Hassler.

Her stoke, dedication, and loyalty were undeniable. We are so incredibly thankful to have known such a wonderful human, and we’re going to try and follow her example. Let’s all give it hell, like Annabelle.

Annabelle Joette McClure

March 2, 1991 - November 2, 2020

Rest in continual stoke, dear friend