2020 Annual Summit

Credit Photo Courtesy of:
Jamie Bloomquist, "Denali Vision", 1999

Climbing Through Adversity
Access Fund's Annual Summit Celebration

With keynote speaker Erik Weihenmayer and emcee Sophia Danenberg

Presented by

Couldn't attend the event? Check out the recording!

You can enjoy the great music and an engaging program with Everest summiteers, Erik Weihenmayer and Sophia Danenberg, from the comfort of your home, on your own time.

October 7, 2020

Thank you for attending and participating in our Annual Summit Celebration! With your support, we surpassed our goal and were able to raise over $170,000 to protect America’s climbing!

We hope you enjoyed the great conversation with Sophia Danenberg and Erik Weihenmayer, as well as the fabulous music from King Margo and Daniel Rodriguez.

Couldn't attend the event?
Check out the recording here.

What made this virtual party awesome:

Our party featured not one, but two musical artists. Enjoy live performances by sarcastic folk/rock duo, King Margo and Colorado singer-songwriter, Daniel Rodriguez and his trio.

An engaging program with Everest summiteers, Erik Weihenmayer and Sophia Danenberg! Plus, special appearances by your favorite climbing athletes.

Click below to access event resources and frequently asked questions:

This year’s celebration theme is Climbing Through Adversity. As the first blind climber and the first Black woman to summit Everest, Erik and Sophia are quite literally two of the most compelling climbers who are bringing meaning and purpose to climbing through adversity.

Along with Erik and Sophia, we all love climbing because it is difficult and challenging, from the moment we step off the deck to when we eventually top out. Working through these challenges—some physical, some mental—focuses us in our craft and in our daily lives. Climbers are resilient and resolute, and we get things done.

With your help, Access Fund has continued to thrive and succeed on the sharp end. We have rallied our community to fight for public lands, and we are seeing victories. Our conservation teams are hard at work restoring climbing areas around the country. We’re flexing our muscle and buying threatened climbing areas. And we need your continued support to stay on route.

This is the time for us to join together, to climb through adversity as a community. Join us on October 7 and help keep Access Fund strong.

This event is made possible by Black Diamond (Present Sponsor), Trango (Gold Sponsor), Outdoor Research, eGrips (Silver Sponsors), The North Face, and Athletic Brewing Company (Bronze Sponsors). Thank you!

About keynote speaker Erik Weihenmayer

Erik on Red Tower. Photo courtesy of Heinz Zak.

Erik Weihenmayer is one of the most celebrated and accomplished athletes in the world. In 2001, he became the only blind person in history to climb Mount Everest. When he stood on the top of Carstensz Pyramid in 2008, he completed his quest to climb all of the Seven Summits-the tallest peak on each of the seven continents.

Erik is the author of the best selling memoir, Touch the Top of the World, which was made into a feature film, as well as The Adversity Advantage, which shows readers how to turn everyday struggles into everyday greatness. His latest book, No Barriers: A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon is more than an adventure story; it illuminates how we move forward in our lives towards growth and purpose—despite the barriers that get in our way. He is an internationally recognized speaker and brings his message of living a No Barriers Life to audiences around the world.

In September 2014, Erik and blinded Navy veteran, Lonnie Bedwell, kayaked the entire 277-miles of the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River, considered one of the most formidable whitewater venues in the world. He founded an organization called No Barriers, which helps people with challenges tap into the human spirit, break through barriers, and contribute to the world.

About emcee speaker Sophia Danenberg

Sophia atop Everest. Photo courtesy of Sophia.

Sophia Danenberg grew up in an "indoorsy' family. The first time she hiked, backpacked or camped was the week before starting college. And yet, in 2006, she became the first African-American and the first Black woman to climb to the summit of Mount Everest. Sophia's love of the mountains has taken her all over the world—from the Matterhorn in Switzerland to Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Ama Dablam in Nepal, and Aconcagua in Argentina.

Sophia is on the board of NatureBridge, an organization that provides hands-on environmental education programs for students in our nation's national parks. And in 2019, she was appointed by Governor Jay Inslee to serve as a Washington State Parks and Recreation Commissioner. In addition to outdoor recreation, Sophia is also active in national and local politics. Professionally, she leads international environmental policy analysis at Boeing. Before starting her career, Sophia was a Fulbright Fellow at Keio University in Tokyo and a researcher-writer for a travel guide in Thailand. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in environmental sciences and public policy.

Resources and Frequently Asked Questions

Information will continually be added below. If you have any questions, contact us at [email protected]

Who is this event for?
Everyone. We invite any and all climbing and conservation advocates to join us. For the first time, the Annual Summit is accessible to supporters across the country and does not require travel to our in-person event location. We are excited to showcase this event to our entire community.

Is this event accessible?
Our multimedia and live program will have synchronized captions, as well as voice descriptions.

What is the purpose of this event?
This is our largest event fundraiser of the year
and every act of generosity counts—each means even more when we give together. The event is free and you can give what you can to participate. We suggest at least a $10 donation to support our efforts.

Do I need to register for the event?

Registration is required to attend the event.
You may register here.

How much does it cost to attend?

This event is open to anyone that would like to attend. If you can, we are suggesting a $10 donation to help cover the value of your ticket.

What time does the event take place?

The event will begin at 6 p.m. Mountain Time. Click here to convert the time to your zone.

What technology do I need to participate?
For the best experience, we suggest using a desktop or laptop computer with sound. You do not have to download an app to participate. If you are tuning in on the fly, our event is mobile-friendly.

I can't attend the live event. Will there be a recording available?

We will post a link to the recording on this website, as well as promote the recording on social media.

Do I have to attend the event to participate in the online auction?

No! The online auction is available to anyone interested in browsing and bidding. Click here to preview and register!

When does the online auction open and close?

The auction opens on Thursday, October 1 at 8 a.m. Mountain Time. The auction closes on Wednesday, October 7 at 6:15 p.m. Mountain Time.

Why is it important to take part in this event? How does it benefit Access Fund's work?

Access Fund has continued to thrive and succeed in our mission to protect America’s climbing—all while we confront a pandemic and racial upheaval in a critical election year. In August, thanks to sustained advocacy from the climbing community, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) canceled plans to auction more than 85,000 acres of recreation-rich land around Moab, Utah, for oil and gas leasing. As disturbing reports from our Conservation Teams and local advocates have ramped up regarding overcrowding, trash piling up, newly eroded trails, crushed plant life, and more human waste at our crags, we doubled down on our efforts to steward climbing areas that are struggling under the rapid growth of our sport. And we’ve continued to purchase climbing areas, like Alphabet Rock in Icicle Canyon near Leavenworth, Washington. By joining us in this celebration, you help us drive the momentum to get things done.

Questions about the event?

Do not hesitate to contact Heather Distad at [email protected]