For more than 20 years, Access Fund has been recognizing the outstanding work of climbing advocates nationwide. Among this year’s honorees are rock star community builders, climbing stewards, equitable access leaders and land conservationists.
These individuals and organizations stand out in their commitment to the American climbing community:
- Bill Dockins – Menocal Lifetime Achievement Award – Honored for his expansive contributions to climbing advocacy in Montana. Founder of the Southwest Montana Climbers Coalition (SMCC), Dockins’ efforts have been instrumental in improving and securing access to climbing areas in the region. He also led early bolt replacement efforts and continues to contribute to this work. As an attorney, Dockins has provided priceless pro bono counsel to SMCC. Through the years, he has remained as a consistent voice of reason as climbing evolved from a fringe pursuit to a globally appreciated outdoor activity.
- Peter Cody – Bebie Leadership Award – Honored for his leadership of Gunks Climbers Coalition and his role in the acquisition of Ant Lion Crag on Millbrook Mountain. Thanks to Cody, the Gunks has a new, permanently protected climbing area. He continues to use his relationship-building skills to explore new opportunities for access along the Shawangunk ridgeline.
- Sarah Garlick – Community Leader Local Organizing – Recognized with a Climbing Advocate Award for her years of dedication and key role in founding, organizing, and leading Friends of the Ledges, a local climbing organization protecting climbing in the eastern White Mountains of New Hampshire and Maine. Under Garlick’s leadership, the organization has grown its stewardship, land conservation, and land manager relations efforts.
- Angela Lee – Community Leader, JEDI, Local Organizing and Climbing Access – Recognized for her work in Colorado’s San Luis Valley. Lee is the co-founder and president of the local climbing organization, San Luis Valley Climbers Alliance (SLVCA), and an outspoken leader in incorporating justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) principles into climbing advocacy. With SLVCA, she also played an instrumental role in working with a private landowner to permanently protect access to Denny’s climbing area.
- Memphis Rox – Community Leader, Equitable Access – Recognized with a Climbing Advocate Award for demonstrating a revolutionary model for equitable climbing access. Rox has redefined traditional notions of what gyms are and how they operate by integrating itself into a low-income community and instituting a sliding pay scale. As part of its programming, Rox also offers a host of social services such as COVID-19 support, healthy food programs, exercise, and exposure of youth to the outdoors, which makes it oriented as much around justice, equity, and service as it is around climbing.
- Eric Ruljancich – Community Leader, Stewardship – Recognized with a Climbing Advocate Award for his service on the board of Climbing Association of Southern Arizona and his leadership on the cutting edge of climbing area stewardship. Ruljancich has led numerous community stewardship projects at places like Mt. Lemmon and Cochise stronghold.
- Pam Neil – Community Leader, Stewardship & Advocacy – Recognized for her work with the Southern California Mountaineering Association (SCMA), where she has provided climbing advocacy and stewardship leadership in her work with California State Parks. Neil has helped organize many Adopt-a-Crag trail days at areas like Point Dume, Echo Cliffs and Malibu Creek, and shehas worked with land management agencies to protect sensitive and endangered species in the Santa Monica Mountains.
- Jeremy Park – Community Leader, Stewardship – Recognized with a Climbing Advocate Award for his volunteer leadership on the board of Washington Climbers Coalition (WCC). Over the past 10 years, Park has helped the WCC with event organizing, fundraising, and community outreach, and he has played a critical role in organizing and funding the four-year Washington Climbing Conservation Initiative.
- Dave Pagel – Community Leader, Climbing Access & Local Organizing – Recognized with a Climbing Advocate Award for his success in opening the Duluth Ice Park, an ice-climbing area in Minnesota. Pagel also has played a critical role in leading and organizing the community and the Duluth Climbers Coalition.
- Ryan Shipp – Community Leader, Local Organizing & Stewardship – Recognized with a Climbing Advocate Award for his outstanding leadership of South Central Pennsylvania Climbers (SCPC). Shipp, who was nominated by the community, has brought the community together to steward and protect climbing areas like Governor Stable, Mt. Gretna, Chickies Rock, and more. His passion for getting youth and people out to climb in a responsible and safe fashion is exemplified by his work to help organize SCPC’s annual Safe Harbor gym-to-crag event.
- Alexis Krauss – Community Leader, Youth, Access, and Equitable Climbing – Recognized with a Climbing Advocate Award, Krauss also was nominated by the community. The award recognizes Krauss’ leadership as a founding member of Young Women Who Crush (YWWC), a rock climbing and leadership development program serving young women and gender expansive youth from New York City public schools. She has brought together a diverse team of co-founders and mentors to help inspire young women to recognize their strength and realize their potential through a discipline they may not have otherwise experienced: climbing.
- The Vansmith – Corporate Responsibility – Recognized with a Climbing Advocate Award for its commitment to protecting America’s climbing. The Vansmith selected Access Fund as its nonprofit of choice to receive grant funds from its campaigns with Omaze, which offer outdoor lovers the chance to win a new Sprinter van with a custom Vansmith conversion. These campaigns have brought in more than $2 million to help protect America’s climbing.
- Carolina Climbers Coalition – Land Conservation Award – Recognized with a Land Conservation Award for permanently protecting the Buckeye Boulders in North Carolina. This multi-year conservation project ensures long-term climber-friendly management of Buckeye Boulders and protects access to the adjacent Barn Boulders.
- Rumney Climbers Association (RCA) – Land Conservation Award – Recognized with a Land Conservation Award for permanently protecting Rumney’s Northwest Crags in New Hampshire. In this multi-year conservation project, RCA used an Access Fund loan to help purchase the last tract of private land at Rumney Rocks and build sustainable trails and access to the area. RCA then transferred the property to White Mountain National Forest for long-term, climber-friendly management.
- Southeastern Climbers Coalition (SCC) – Land Conservation Award – Recognized with a Land Conservation Award for permanently protecting Denny Cove in Tennessee. In this multi-year conservation project, SCC used an Access Fund loan to acquire this climbing area and make significant investments in sustainable access and trails. SCC then transferred the property to South Cumberland State Park for long-term, climber-friendly management.
Access Fund is the national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment. Founded in 1991, Access Fund supports and represents millions of climbers nationwide in all forms of climbing: rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, and bouldering.
Access Fund works to protect America’s climbing at the national and local levels by protecting public lands, restoring climbing areas, buying threatened climbing, protecting private land access, inspiring climbing advocacy, mentoring responsible climbers, and replacing aging bolts. For more information, visit www.accessfund.org