Access Fund, the nonprofit working to keep climbing areas open and conserved all across the US, puts three professional trail builders/conservation specialists—the Access Fund-Jeep Conservation Team—on the road 10 months of the year to help local climbing communities assess impacts and climbing conservation needs, address those needs, and provide training on stewardship planning and best practices for keeping their climbing areas healthy. The Conservation Team program is made possible by the generous support of Jeep, REI, CLIF Bar, Therm-a-Rest, La Sportiva, and Yakima.
Story from the Road
Last night we rolled into Ten Sleep, Wyoming at dusk. Neither of us had been here before but we’d heard plenty about the pocketed limestone cliffs that lined the canyon walls. Ten Sleep is the 33rd climbing area we have visited since going on the road full time with the Access Fund-Jeep Conservation Team last February. Every week we travel to a new climbing community to visit the local gym, educate a youth climbing team, plan and host a service project, and support the local climbing organization in their efforts to sustain and protect their climbing areas. We get to meet amazing people who are passionate about their climbing crags and share the love they have for their place. And we get to climb new routes and styles as we make our way across the country.
While we are deeply inspired by our travels, life on the road can also be tough. We move our base camp every week and travel for multiple days between locations, often visiting places we have never been to and don’t know a soul (yet). The unpack-repack of our Jeep and trailer has become a weekly ritual for staying organized. Some things stay constant: tools and supplies in the trailer, clothes, and food in the Jeep, climbing gear and other toys in the Yakima SkyBox. When you’re living on the road, it’s essential for everything to have a home, and our system for managing our gear continues to improve over time.
While life on the road presents its challenges, the places we visit and the people we work with make it all worthwhile. We get to visit the most iconic climbing areas in the country, as well as the hidden gems that are tucked away in small towns and loved by the locals. Each place has its own story, its own community, and its own challenges. However, every area has one thing in common: a special place that needs to be protected from the inevitable impacts that come from visitors making vertical gains. We are honored to help these communities build more-sustainable climbing areas that can withstand increased use.
Want to help protect climbing areas? here are two easy ways:
See you out There!
Andrea & Annabelle
Access Fund-Jeep Conservation Team (National)