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Joe’s Valley: Time For A Change

The Access Fund:

As the popularity of Joe’s Valley continues to rise, increased climber traffic is causing some extreme environmental impacts that could threaten access if not addressed.

…snip…

The planning process will continue throughout 2015, with a final plan ready for rollout in early 2016. We ask the climbing community to embrace the changes that are needed at Joe’s Valley.

Anybody who has climbed at Joe’s the past few years can recognize the need for some changes there to create a more sustainable future.  Hopefully with the involvement of the Access Fund and the climbing community we can preserve the awesome resource that is Joe’s Valley.

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Ticked Off

The Access Fund:

Despite the obvious benefit of chalk for climbing—its drying effect on sweaty hands—climbers can often get carried away with it. Over the years, chalk gets caked onto holds, forming layers, which affects the texture of the rock and the friction of that very poor sloper. Too many ticks can also cause confusion on a route, botch on-sight attempts, and ruin the self-discovery and problem-solving aspect of climbing.

If there is one trend I noticed during my time in Colorado it’s that you would think boulderers were going blind with the amount of tick marks being used these days.  It was not uncommon to walk up to a boulder and see multiple tick marks, often garishly long, per hand and foot, with the person who actually put them there long since gone from the problem.  Usually the harder the boulder, the worse this problem got.

Judicious and discrete use of tick marks for key holds that are cleaned off after every session is one thing, using tick marks like tape in the gym is something completely different.

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Hueco Tanks Public Use Plan Under Review

Melissa Strong, who owns and operates the excellent Wagon Wheel Co-opt in Hueco Tanks, brings news that the Public Use Plan that lays out guidelines for access to Hueco Tanks is under review:

On January 27, 2015 about 40 people joined together for the first meeting in a series of six to review the Public Use Plan, PUP, implemented in 2000 by Texas Park and Wildlife Department, TPWD, in Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site, HTSP&HS.

These meetings were sparked for many reasons including the discussion of local access being limited due to the PUP and according to some because of climbers.   It is true many climbers frequent The Park but the limited access of the PUP gives everyone the same equal rights of accessing Hueco Tanks.

The outlook from the perspective of us climbers does seem ok, but this is definitely something for us to keep an eye on. Many thanks to Melissa, Climbers of Hueco Tanks Coalition, the American Alpine Club and the Access Fund for their work on this.

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Petition To Save Geyikbayiri

Bad news about potential mining at the Turkish sport climbing paradise, Geyikbayiri:

Rock climbing at Geyikbayiri, one of biggest and the most famous sport climbing areas in Turkey, may be at risk due to a project that received official permission at the end of last year to explore the possibility of mining in the area. Should marble suitable for quarrying be found, this would affect circa 350 of the 1000 routes at Geyikbayiri, in the sectors Cesme, Sarkit, Mağara, Anatolia, Dragon, Güzel Manzara, Posaidon, Ottoman, Mevlana, Barbarossa, Akdeniz and Ekos. At present the mining research has not yet started and a grass-action climber’s protest has sprung up against this recent development.

You can sign the petition here.

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The Nosewipe: A Camp VI Cleanse

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Give The Gift Of Access

Word on the street is that now is a big time of year for buying things, so if we’re all going to be buying things why not give the gift of Access this holiday season?

The Access Fund has their annual Holiday Pack for sale right now which comes with a slew of great schwag1, or you could  just go for the $35 annual membership which comes with, you know, the gift of access.

  1.  The T-shirt with the Fred Nicole painting on it is pretty cool
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The Future Of Climbing

Climbing Business Journal reports from a recent meeting of “an informal group of leaders in the climbing industry” where issues like routesetter safety and poor behavior at outdoor crags were discussed.  This part in particular caught my eye:

Travis Herbert, Education Director from The Access Fund suggested that industry groups “need to make it cool to be stewards” of the outdoors. He also suggested that the social norms need to change so that it “doesn’t count” if you sent a v15 but trashed the crag in the process. The climbing media, particularly groups that put out popular climbing videos, and the elite athletes that are featured in them, can play an important role in making ethical outdoor behavior fun, approachable and normal.

I think this idea that what is portrayed in climbing media/videos can really have an impact on access issues is an important point, one that is driven home by the Access Fund’s “Commit to the Pact” video which was just recently launched.

The video features a long list of well-known climbers encouraging us all to commit to being responsible in the outdoors which is something I 100% agree with.  What I also think is equally as important is that these same climbers demonstrate through their actions, whether those actions are filmed for a climbing video, posted on Instagram or done the old-fashioned way with no electronic record of any kind1, that these values are important to them in practice as well.  Like it or not, when regular climbers see high profile professional climbers engaging in poor behavior like climbing on private property, making too much noise, hiking off established trails or using and not cleaning off excessive tick marks just to name a few, this creates an implicit reaction in many of us that this behavior is ok for us to do as well.

As far as it pertains to this site, I have always tried to my best to avoid promoting bad behavior, but I’m sure I have not been perfect on this by any stretch.  If you see something posted on this site that you feel violates the spirit of the Access Fund’s pact do let me know and I will be happy to take a look.

  1.  Nobody does that anymore though, right?
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