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3 Climbing Advocacy Groups that are Making an Impact on Our Community and Our Crags


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Emily Halcomb

Granite Arch Climbing Center | Rancho Cordova, CA


The Access Fund is a national organization that advocates for sustainable access to crags and conservation of the environment we climb in. They believe we all have a role to play in protecting and advocating for outdoor climbing areas and they are building a strong community to aid their mission. Access Fund advocates are going above and beyond by showing up in Washington D.C. to negotiate with lawmakers to help create policies that impact all climbers.

What is Access Fund currently up to?


The Climber Stewards Program ran by the Access Fund has three teams in Indian Creek, Red River Gorge, and New River Gorge. They show up during peak season at these high traffic climbing areas to educate climbers on caring for natural landscapes to ensure sustainable access. If you see them at one of your favorite crags, stop by and say hi; you might learn something new about your favorite sport!


On June 6 through June 9, 2024, the Access Fund is collaborating with local climbing organizations to lead a Trail Skills Workshop. This workshop is teaching participants how to be a leader in their climbing community and work on terrain to maintain sustainable climbing areas.


The Access Fund also hosts Adopt a Crag events throughout the year. They invite volunteers to come out and help clean up and do maintenance at their local crags. After the work is done, they often host events like raffles or BBQs that help foster a deeper sense of community. Their calendar is currently full of Adopt a Crag opportunities from now until September 2024. See if there’s an opportunity to make a difference coming up near you!



CRAGS is a climbing advocacy group that works to protect climbing areas in Northern California. They are “dedicated to stewardship, advocacy, and education for our local climbing areas.” This group was founded in 2008 with a mission to address issues at the Auburn Quarry. Since then, they have been able to branch out to protect crags all over the greater Tahoe area and they’re even starting to do some work in the Bay area.  


Upcoming event:


CRAGS Board Meeting & Rocklin Quarry Clean Up is a local event coming up on June 12, 2024. This meeting involves clean-up, socializing with your community, and a discussion about future plans. They could use all the help they can get, so grab a friend and come volunteer! These events are great because you get to do something good for the environment, while connecting with other local climbers!

The CRAGS board members are constantly at work to create safe access to your favorite rock climbing areas and new volunteer events pop up all the time. If you’re interested in joining CRAGS on one of their missions, make sure to stay updated by checking out their website or following their Instagram.


American Alpine Club


The American Alpine Club is another nation-wide network of climbing and environmental activists. Founded in 1902, the AAC has been working hard to protect beautiful ecosystems and treasured climbing areas. Their mission is to grow a large community of 5 million civically active climbers. They are reaching their goals by leading volunteer events, educating climbers on key issues, and maintaining their political presence which aids in creating important new policies. AAC is surpassing expectations by funding research and education, hosting summits, and networking with other organizations to expand their reach.


Get involved!

During June 21-25, AAC is hosting the United in Yosemite Climbing Festival. This is a space for people to climb some of the coolest rocks in the United States, connect with a diverse community, have some important conversations, participate in clinics, and so much more! Only 100 spots are open for this event, however those who get to participate go home with great memories, new skills, and lifelong friends. All the spaces have filled for this year, but make sure to stay updated on when the registration opens up next year!


The Craggin’ Classic is a series of 3-day climbing festivals held in several locations throughout the US. All climbers, new and experienced, can enjoy this experience and celebrate all things climbing. AAC’s mission with the Craggin’ Classic is to allow people to build community, gain competency on new climbing skills, and educate people on the importance of conservation. These events have space for many more guests than the United in Yosemite Climbing Festival, and they are quite affordable for 3 days of non-stop fun. See if there’s an event you’d like to attend near you!


The American Alpine Club also offers a membership program. AAC members voluntarily donate a selected amount; in return, they receive free merch, discounts on gear, access to grants and libraries, coverage on certain expenses, and other benefits. With this funding, the AAC is able to host free educational and stewardship events, give grants to fund research, pay for lawyers who can make effective policies for protecting the environment, and so much more. If you’re able to, you can consider donating to this cause. A little goes a long way.




As you can see, there are a lot of people out there who care a lot, who are fighting for positive change and working hard to protect our cherished rocks. These are only a few of the many organizations advocating for similar causes in your local community and around the world. Next time you climb an outdoor crag, remember that people are out there working to keep it clean and accessible for you. Make sure to do your part by cleaning up after yourself so the next climbers can have a good experience. If protecting the environment and keeping climbing sustainable is something you care about, maybe consider looking more into some of these organizations and figure out the best way you can help!

If you're looking for more ways to get involved in the community, feel free to check out Granite Arch's Outdoor Resource Guide. We've put together a comprehensive list of helpful resources for all things climbing related!


Access Fund


American Alpine Club

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