Scarpa North America Blog

Access Fund Annual Summit – The Breakdown

Sep. 14th 2017

As you click through the prompts when buying a pair of Scarpa shoes online you are asked if you would like to donate to the Access Fund. You may wonder what value this has…Myself, Jimmy Keithley, and my family headed to Oakland, CA this past weekend for the Access Fund Annual Summit and Dinner. Keep on reading to see what we experienced and you will see the importance of such an organization. The weekend consisted of workshops that focused on various issues affecting climbers, as well as a semi formal dinner party focusing on raising funds and highlighting some of those in our community.

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It all started with a light breakfast Saturday morning followed by a welcoming talk & round table discussion. It was kicked off with some brief introductions of the Access Fund Staff and the Title Sponsor, Patagonia, was able to explain reasons it was important to support such an event. Then the round table got underway in earnest. Everyone was encouraged to briefly introduce themselves and highlight some concerns or success they had or what they hoped to gain from the event. There were LCOs (Local Climbing Organizations), Pro Athletes, climbing brand representatives as well as many others. After this the group divided into workshops covering a variety of subjects…

– Advocacy 101: Why and How we Should Get Involved. The speakers were representatives of LCOs, Access Fund Board Members & Native Land Regional Coordinator and Tommy Caldwell. This clinic identified ways we can all make a difference no matter how small a roll we play in the climbing community. This can amplify the climbing community voice.

– Sustainable Bolt Replacement. The Speakers other than Access Fund Representative included many other hardworking re-bolters from around the nation including Me, Jimmy Keithley (father of Scarpa Athletes – Noah and Zoe). Slides and stories were shared that showed the importance of this work. Re-bolting techniques were discussed as well.

– Connecting with New Climbers: This culturally diverse panel discussed the importance & creative ways to reach out to new climbers and get them involved in the climbing community.

– Climbing Access Inventories: The Key For Successful Stewardship. Ty – Access Fund Stewardship Director & Katie – Access Fund Policy Association gave an update into some recent projects (Joe’s Valley,Little Cottonwood Canyon, Lovers Leap) and what it took to get to this point. Importance of utilizing tools provided by AF and working together to speed up the process. This workshop was wrapped up with updates by Eric Bissell the Yosemite Climbing Ranger.

– Economic Impact of Outdoor Recreation on Public Lands. This discussion was led by Erick Murdock – AF Policy Director & Sociologist Dr. James Maples. Climbers stoke the economy. March 2016 in Red River Gorge, KY climbing brought $3.6 Million into the local economy. May 2016, Chatty, TN $6.9 Million. James help all to see we as climbers have a positive economic around the areas we climb, and this needs to be conveyed to land owners and local agencies.

– Building Your LCO for the Long Haul: Organizational Succession and Board Diversity: This panel of LCOs discussed ways to avoid mistakes and effectively share information and communicate effectively.

– The Jail House Story. Unlocking lessons from preserving privately owned climbing areas: Tom Addison and Joe Sambataro told the story of how that land was purchased for Jail house as well as issues with a new crag in a some what similar predicament.

– Advocacy to the 115th Congress. How to engage in a New Political Landscape. This Access Fund Panel discussed the unique situation we are in and gave guidance for navigating and soliciting political help.

After a brief conclusion the Summit work portion of the day concluded. It was time to clean up and head to the Stand up for Public Lands Annual Dinner and Fundraiser!

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The Dinner was held at the Beautiful Oakland Rotunda. This large round building served as a the magnificent back drop to the evenings festivities. Silent Auction items were shown off. These included thing from climbing gear to beautiful works of art. Drinks were flowing and music played. After enough time to get every one loosened up, the tables were set and people began to take their seats for the evenings main event. At this time there was a live auction with such items as…fully catered guided trips and personal climbing excursions. These big ticket items brought in a lot of cash that will help fund climbing areas nationally.

Once the Auction concluded there was the award ceremony. The “Sharp End Awards” were given to volunteers who are giving back to the climbing community in various ways. There were those who are helping protect climbing in Washington, those who are replacing anchors, and heads of commerce who are supporting these works by funding various grants. It also included those who are trying to set a good example as a family for our climbing community. This was the first time the “Sharp End Award” was given to a family and we were honored to be the recipients!

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Brady Robinson was also given the award for 10 years of service. Brady then introduced the Key Speaker: Jimmy Chin. Jimmy shared heartwarming stories and great anecdotes that kept everyone entertained. He also shared a clip from his upcoming film (yet to be released) Sorry no spoilers here. The night ended with every one full of good food and great stories.

Sunday Concluded the Summit with an on sight visit to Castle Rock. This area is well known for its amazing routes and boulder problems. This on-sight visit gave the local Bay Area Climbers Coalition an opportunity to show what good stewardship looks like. But that wasn’t it. What would a climbing Summit be like with out some rock climbing. Many stuck around do a little climbing to conclude the weekend!

Take Action! Please consider – Donating when you see the Donate Button, Volunteer when you see an Opportunity, or at the very least…Thank Your Local LCO and Volunteers!

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