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The AAC and Access Fund. Kiss or Kill?
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By Mr. Holmes
From Cascade West
Aug 15, 2012
#2

Every state has Access Fund Regional Coorindators (CA has 5!) AS WELL AS Local Climbing Organizations(some affiliated with the A.F. some not) that can be saught out as a resource in the event of a crag closure or threat of a closure.
Unfortunately many climbers have a habit of climbing in areas without educating themselves on the land/access status or worse, blatantly cross no trespass signs to climb and develop then get bent out of shape when areas are closed by land managers with no hope of re-opening. It is ALWAYS better to ask permission rather than forgiveness when in comes to climbing on someone elses land wether its BLM, USFS, State park, or private group.
By working pro-actively climbers can leverage the political power of the Access Fund to open doors and get a seat at the table when areas are being used for climbing. This can insure that climbing is written into managment plans to insure access for generations to come and displays climbers as a "legitimate user group" not just a bunch of dirt bag hippies hopping fences. More information for support in California can be found here:



www.accessfund.org/site/c.tmL5KhNWLrH/b.5052157/k.4F44/Whats>>>


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By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From Lander, WY
Aug 15, 2012
The Shield

Guy Keesee wrote:
AF seems to be mostly concerned with stuff out in Colorado and other spots...... In California, not much protecting, or even complaining via the courts. We have lost Fossel Falls, Castle Crags, Auburn Quarry and Williamson, without squat being done. Maybe time for AF/California?


Classic.
I'm gonna guess here, and I admit its a guess, that you have given no support to this non-profit organization that has helped hold back "the man" in San Diego, Josh, Malibu, Pinnacles, The Valley, and every area around Bishop, yet you complain that the relatively obscure crags listed above have not gotten the attention you think they deserve. Yeah, I know, you are the loner-climber who turns his back to society with this sport, thus you don't need to support the organization that supports what you do. Not everyone who does not support the Access Fund (or the AAC) is a self centered idiot... but some are.


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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Aug 16, 2012
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Kali. Alabama Hills, CA.

Sam.... I have paid dues to AF and FOJT. Please remember rule #1

The spots I aluded to were always open to climbing intill something went down.

Castle Rocks got closed cause some local enviro activist group got the whole place shut down for falcon nesting. even though the studys were flawed.

Same for Williamson....The AF will run from the CBD.

And Fossel Falls may be some 2 bit place to you but I have been climbing there for 40 years..... that got closed cause someone found a map with the true or.iginal property lines.

So Sam please think about this....

I think they (AF) could do a better job out here in CA, if they did, they would gain much more support from US Californians.

Just saying


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By bergbryce
From South Lake Tahoe, CA
Aug 16, 2012

Guy Keesee wrote:
AF seems to be mostly concerned with stuff out in Colorado and other spots...... In California, not much protecting, or even complaining via the courts. We have lost Fossel Falls, Castle Crags, Auburn Quarry and Williamson, without squat being done. Maybe time for AF/California?



AF is helping to get Auburn open and what about Jailhouse? I believe they were involved in getting legitimate access to that crag if I'm not mistaken.

They get my annual support, so does AAC.
The annual journal is worth the AAC membership alone. The journal is more geared towards alpine pursuits which not all climbers are into so I can understand not seeing the value in that org.

I realize an organization like AF cannot do everything but I'm convinced that without a unified voice and experience when it comes to land management issues, a voice like what the Access Fund offers, climbers would be getting more bummed more regularly about lost access.


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By gearwhore
From Orange, CA
Aug 16, 2012

I'll post from a devil's advocate standpoint:

1. Why does (a potion of) my hard earned money go to these two organizations to pay for their employees to go on climbing trips?

2. Why are most of the events for AAC in CO? Really nice for the members that live there....especially being able to take advantage of the fancy new building.

Regardless, I support both but as the years go by these two lingering questions make me less and less inclined to send money.


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By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From Lander, WY
Aug 16, 2012
The Shield

Guy, you are absolutely right on that first point... I need to follow rule #1. It was a grumpy day. My bad. I sincerely apologize.

Perhaps you are right on those crags. I dont know. I just know that when i served on the board I watched the employees work tirelessly. As jason Keith put it one afternoon, "I find out the sky is falling somewhere about 3 times a day." And the worst part about it is that the problems are caused by us 90% of the time... big perma draws, dogs jumping hikers or cattle, chalk marks on petroglyphs. But that may not apply to any of the crags you mentioned.

And again, sorry for blowing up.

Sincerely
Sam


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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Aug 16, 2012

Mark E Dixon wrote:
Access Fund member and contributor for many years. There is no excuse for any climber NOT to be a member.

Sure there is. Being a member costs money. Some people live paycheck to paycheck. Others don't even have a job. More others feel their money is best spent at a charity. Anyway, the point is that not everyone has money to blow so easily. Don't forget, the average family wealth in America has declined over the past few years whereas the average cost of living has aggressively increased. People have less money to spend on things this decade than they did last.

Sure you could argue that $30 is nothing, and I would agree with you, but to someone who lives paycheck to paycheck or does not have a job, I doubt they would agree with us.

Anyway, the Access Fund and the ASCA are the most important organizations in our sport IMO, and if one were to choose to donate money to an organization, it should be one of those. If you have a job and money, you most certainly should donate to the Access Fund.

Mr. Holmes wrote:
Every state has Access Fund Regional Coorindators (CA has 5!) AS WELL AS Local Climbing Organizations(some affiliated with the A.F. some not) that can be saught out as a resource in the event of a crag closure or threat of a closure.


No they dont. There is more than one state that has a bit of climbing in it, but no RC and no LCO. Right now Hawaii is tirelessly fighting a state-wide rock climbing closure action that affects almost all of our roped climbing areas. We have no RC and no LCO. I applied for the RC position, but with no legit LCO, there isint much of a point. I drove to Boulder largely to speak with the AF about this issue. For the past two months I have been in the AF office, or on the phone with them, at least once a week. Anyway, my point is that although we need am LCO, there really isint one. Its more or less just a bunch of climbers that do their own thing.


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By Superclimber
Aug 16, 2012

Sam Lightner, Jr. wrote:
chalk marks on petroglyphs.


Grrrr...


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By Scott M. McNamara
From Tucson, Arizona
Aug 16, 2012
One Way Sunset

Member of both—AAC & AF.

Here in Arizona an LEO ranger decided fixed anchors were illegal in the Coronado—any fixed anchors---anywhere, hand drilled or Bosched.

The ranger ticketed a climber for putting up a multi-pitch route in which no fixed anchors were visible from the ground.

In other words, this ranger's position (and presumably that of the Coronado) was all the fixed anchors on Lemmon or in the Stronghold were illegal. Please read that again.

We went to trial. I defended the climber. He was looking at fines, probation and/or jail time if we lost.

The AF helped me to prepare for trial. At no expense to the climber, they flew their big gun expert witness down to Tucson to help me at trial.

If you want to keep climbing, then you really, really need to support (at very least) the ACCESS FUND.

Thanks!

Scott McNamara


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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Aug 16, 2012

Scott M. McNamara wrote:
MHe was looking fines, probation and/or jail time if we lost.

Jail for bolting a route? Are you f'in kidding me. What the hell is America coming to. Soon J-walking is going to be a felony... The term felony has lost all of its meaning, everything is a felony now days. I have better things to spend my money on than taxes to fund a legal system that jails people for extremely minor slap on the wrist level crimes. Especially crimes that should not illegal be in the first place, and crimes that were passed by someone that knows nothing about the activity s/he is trying to outlaw. I wish I could get a high paying job that allows me to make decisions about something I am grossly underqualified to be making decisions about. It seems there are a lot of those types of positions in America, can anyone guide me to one?


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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Aug 17, 2012
Sure, I can belay

20 kN wrote:
Sure there is. Being a member costs money. Some people live paycheck to paycheck. Others don't even have a job. More others feel their money is best spent at a charity. Anyway, the point is that not everyone has money to blow so easily. Don't forget, the average family wealth in America has declined over the past few years whereas the average cost of living has aggressively increased. People have less money to spend on things this decade than they did last. Sure you could argue that $30 is nothing, and I would agree with you, but to someone who lives paycheck to paycheck or does not have a job, I doubt they would agree with us. .


Good point. There are some climbers in dire straits who really can't afford $30.
I'll gladly cut them a break.
There are also non-member climbers who spend $30 every weekend on beer, gas, or climbing gadgets. They have no excuse.
There are also climbers who live a 'low cash lifestyle' who IMHO could find a way to work a few hours each year and pay their share to protect our access to the places we love.


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By Jim Amidon
Aug 17, 2012
What ??

I am a member of the AAC..............

The Access Fund.......................

And the AMGA.............

I pay all my dues every year with out thinking about it.......




If you have to think about it........


Why then do you climb ??????


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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Aug 17, 2012
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Kali. Alabama Hills, CA.

Sam no worries....

I was just pointing out MY frustrations with the access issues that pertain to me.

The #1 is Williamson Rock. Most of the people on MP are probablity not awaire of just what has gone on.

Willie is the best place to Sport Climb in Southern California. Its hi elevation, shady location and climber only access makes for a trully awsome venue.

On a hot summers day, you could go there and HUNDREDS of climbers would be enjoying the place.

But it got shut down, WITHOUT any of the public hearings, studies or other regular public imput.

The Forrest service set up some Friends of Williamson Rock group....
I know some folks busted there butts working but in the end, nothing.

As far as I know the AF has not got involved at all in this pressing issue and there have been several hearings over the years.

This is just my personal observation.

I don't wish to go all negitive, The AF HAS been involved with the mess at the Needles and climbers are getting well represented by AF....for that I am gratefull.

We climbers are a miniscule size user group. We don't matter at all to some beaurorat in washington.

Everybody have a good time climbing this weekend.


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By Brian in SLC
Aug 17, 2012
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch

Member of both.

Great dialog! Thanks Malcom and Sam!

On the hut thing in Europe, I considered getting a stamp for the Europe huts but wasn't sure we'd stay in one while here. At a Swiss hut in Albigna last week, the hut guy said even though the AAC isn't on the list to get a discount, that if you were a member, he'd give the discount any way. Was the difference between 58 and 70+ Swiss Francs for full room and board. Nice.

A tip of the Nero d'Avola from Chiavenna to both the AAC and AF!


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By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From Lander, WY
Aug 17, 2012
The Shield

I can tell you Guy that the job at the AF HQ, every day, starts with triage... who is dying the fastest and can be saved. I know that a few years ago they went to bat, hard, over a land manager trying to close some San Diego areas by claiming that ravens were migratory birds that needed the cliffs free of climbers.

One thing all of us have to do is remember that the AF can't respond if they don't know about it. Locals need to inform them. I know one of the reasons the the Colo crags get so much love is that they are right there and hear about stuff going down directly. Board members also make their areas a priority, not because the area is more important, but just because they know when a problem is happening and can make it a priority. We came up with the regional coordinator system, as well as the concept of bringing in local groups like the Friends of Indian Creek and Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition, specifically to stay abreast of.

As per these So.Cal areas, they may have gotten little notice, or little help, or just plain blindsided before they could do anything. They may also have known and just were buried under everything else. As I said before, every day the sky is falling somewhere. If there is a bill to ban all fixed anchors on national public land (we had that as a rider on a bill a few years ago and only found out because a page informed us) is headed into congress, or some clown is trying to get ravens designated as endangered migratory bird species, or some tribe is trying to set a precedent for closing all places to climbing that were once recognized as spiritual (The Tetons, Yosemite, Devils Tower, and sadly Cave Rock), they end up focusing on that.

What I am certain of is that the Access Fund very much cares about all American climbing areas. They get paid less than most in the non profit industry, certainly less than most in the Boulder area, and they put in long hours... all for the sport they love.


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By Dankasaurus
From Lyons, CO
Aug 17, 2012

Access Fund supporter for 5+ years. Generally give more than the minimum. They have a great mission and whenever they report success I am heartened. They provide tangible benefit to the everyman climber.

Quit supporting the AAC a while back, mainly because I didn't feel like it was nearly as important as AF. Also was annoyed with the "golden piton" and AAC grant politics.


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By djkyote
Aug 17, 2012

Sam Lightner, Jr. wrote:
or some tribe is trying to set a precedent for closing all places to climbing that were once recognized as spiritual (The Tetons, Yosemite, Devils Tower, and sadly Cave Rock), they end up focusing on that. .


Crystal Cave, NM can be added to that list. The regional AF or cooordinator had the Boulder AF office on the phone at the last meeting and it was deemed pointless to try to fight a tribe.

Make no mistake, tribes will get whatever they want, whenever they want as the FS continues to lose funding and power.


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By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From Lander, WY
Aug 17, 2012
The Shield

djkyote wrote:
Make no mistake, tribes will get whatever they want, whenever they want as the FS continues to lose funding and power.


And that is scary. Every geologic anomaly in the United States was worshipped in some way or another... To me, it should fall under the separation of church and state. Keep in mind, the various tribes also worshipped, trees, grass, bison, rivers, etc... all things that are not being challenged. Rocks are because we are not able to put up a good fight. More money to the AF and AAC means a better fight.


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By J Q
Aug 17, 2012
Me again!

Sam Lightner, Jr. wrote:
And that is scary. Every geologic anomaly in the United States was worshipped in some way or another... To me, it should fall under the separation of church and state. Keep in mind, the various tribes also worshipped, trees, grass, bison, rivers, etc... all things that are not being challenged. Rocks are because we are not able to put up a good fight. More money to the AF and AAC means a better fight.



Word up, I agree with everything you say. How can a government sans religion be so influenced by religion? It's sad and depressing.

One interesting thing to note, the SW United States is much more at risk of having climbing areas shut down on "these" grounds for a few reasons:

a. Intact indian tribes with functioning governments living on their ancestoral homeland.

b. A climate perfect for preserving trash, I mean artifacts.

c. A smaller population, a smaller tax base, and less significance in the political arena.


I wonder, is there an information source that shows AF activity in the last ten years? Oftentimes I feel very much like the Guy and I would love to be proved wrong.


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By JLP
From The Internet
Aug 17, 2012

Jonhy Q wrote:
I wonder, is there an information source that shows AF activity in the last ten years?

The AF, unlike the AAC, publishes an annual report detailing where the money comes and goes and what their activities are. Check the website.

I would like to see the AAC's finances before giving them money, as I really have no idea where their money goes. They are not bound by the same non-profit and transparency rules as the AF.


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By Mr. Holmes
From Cascade West
Aug 18, 2012
#2

20 kN wrote:
Its more or less just a bunch of climbers that do their own thing.



Organize and represent your crag proactively, tap into the resources of the Access Fund, or mourn the loss of that crag when another party stakes their claim on it and turns it into model homes, quarry, etc.

Get started here:
Creating an LCO

Help my crag is in Danger!


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By Malcolm Daly
From Boulder, CO
Aug 18, 2012

JLP,
Here's a link to the 2011 Annual Report of the AAC: americanalpineclub.org/p/2011-annual-report

And the 2010 report: americanalpineclub.org/p/2010-annual-report

And link to download the 2009 report: americanalpineclub.org/uploads/mce_uploads/Files/PDF/AAC_Ann>>>

And here's their 5-year strategic plan: americanalpineclub.org/p/5-year-plan

Lots more info can be found here:americanalpineclub.org/p/who-we-are

Hope that helps,
Mal


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By JLP
From The Internet
Aug 18, 2012

That does help, Mal. But honestly, I don't see it. The insurance is nice if you are one of the very few to need it, or are going to Peru. The grants only help a few as well. The Journal isn't worth the yearly membership fee and has been far eclipsed by modern online media. The library seems pretty cool - if you happen to live in Golden. I like the Hueco Tanks Ranch purchase and could see that going somewhere if they could do the same in maybe another 20 places - AYH style - but the AF basically underwrote it and probably deserves more credit for making it happen. Otherwise, I don't see a value, nor a relevance, frankly.

The AF, on the other hand, is kicking butt. I see their presense and effect all over the country. I feel a sense of guilt and douchebaggery at this point for not giving more, so I plan to increase this year.

This has come up before and I mentioned it here before, but Mountain Gear and Paul Fish, the owner, are off the chart for their contributions to the AF. I would suggest just having a look at the back of any of their annual reports over the past several years and compare them to what other retailers (or anyone) give when deciding whether that $1 you'll save shopping elsewhere is really worth it.


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By Tradoholic
Aug 27, 2012

S.P.L.T. Image wrote:
As you may know there are a few prominent climbing advocacy groups in the US. Here is a thread to talk about them. In no particular order here are some things to discuss: -Are you a member of one or both? If so, why? -How can either of the groups do better? -Would you be interested in a joint membership? -What if the AAC library was Netflix style, how much would you pay for that? -Who can name the president of either group? -What are the goals of each group? -Tell us a story, how has the AAC or AF effected your climbing? -Could a climbers advocacy group ever be a powerful lobbyist? -Let 'er rip, why are these groups a waste of money, time, and resources? -Can these groups be feared like the NRA or ATV Assoc? Should they be feared? Should climbers sue for access?


Alot of these questions have not been addressed yet.

It seems the consensus is that the AF is providing the best bang for the buck right now, anyone disagree?

I was climbing today and the topic came up of aggressiveness, I think that each time climbers give a little our adversaries see leverage gaining. Anyone else see that in action? Of course in some cases its best to work with people if they are known on a personal basis and are known to be sympathetic, but if they aren't isn't it best to stand up for exactly everything we want?


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By Cor
Aug 28, 2012
black nasty

JLP,

the insurance works anywhere. as soon as you leave the trailhead.
(if i remember correctly...)

also you will likely never read all of the stories in magazines, or online that you find in the alpine journal. i don't think it is eclipsed, unless you like reading online about the worlds most significant boulder problems of the year!

now onto the grants... i can agree somewhat about your talk of grants. yeah, maybe they go to the 1% but now they have a live you dream grant. there is one for every section (west, northeast, etc. etc.)
these grants can go to any member. it could be for trad, or sport, or whatever. it does not need to be cutting edge. this is membership dollars going back to the community.

hueco rock ranch... what about the camping being built at the new river gorge by the AAC, or the teton climbers ranch? or the many discounts to stay at huts, etc. throughout the world.

as far as the library goes, as a member you can surf online for anything they have (guide books, maps, hardback books, movies, etc.)
they will mail them to you for free, you can keep them for an extended period of time (longer than a normal library book) then just mail 'em back.

other good things include (as an example) the international climbers meet. (space is limited... only real catch) for $440 or so you are picked up, and dropped off at fresno airport. transportation through the valley. climb with host climbers that know the area. three catered meals per day. camping at yellow pines, no camp4 bullshit.
this is a great community event that they offer, which is especially good for people who have never been to yosemite, or it may be the one time only dream trip to the area.

also as a member you get discounts on merchandise from various companies.

so anyway, i am not trying to take away from the AF. i think they are great! i do think you had some limited knowledge on what all the AAC does/offers though.

cheers,
cor

ps: i don't work for them either, just a member & volunteer. :)


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