Back to Press Releases

Access Fund Reflects on Challenges Ahead and Major Climbing Advocacy Victories in 2021

January 25, 2022

Media Contact

Gareth Martins

Boulder, CO

Access Fund, the national advocacy organization that protects America’s climbing, marks its 30th birthday this year. A legacy of promoting sustainable access, protecting, and conserving the land, and building a community of inspired advocates has accomplished many victories over the past three decades. Once again, Access Fund is proud to share its top 10 climbing advocacy victories from the past year.

“It’s tradition for us to look back and see what we accomplished over the past 12 months,” said Executive Director Chris Winter. “We achieved so much in 2021 and as we look ahead to celebrating our 30th birthday, we are charting the course for a sustainable future for climbing. It is the generous support from our community that helped us realize so many amazing victories.”

Top 10 Climbing Advocacy Victories of 2021

  1. 33 climbing areas stewarded by Access Fund Conservation Teams
  2. 225 climbing areas preserved
  3. 23,332 feet of sustainable trail work completed by Conservation Teams
  4. $140,000 and 1,900 hours invested into local climbing organizations
  5. 1 million+ acres protected in Bears Ears National Monument
  6. 65 acres of community open space protected at Colorado’s iconic Thumb and Needle
  7. $101,000+ awarded for climbing conservation and bolt replacement
  8. 1,020 cups of coffee served by first ever Climber Stewards in Indian Creek
  9. 500+ advocates convened at annual Climbing Advocacy Conference
  10. First ascensionist diversity fostered through Inks Ranch mentorship initiative

Since 1991, Access Fund has won many fights for legal or physical access to the places people love to climb. While there is still a lot of work to be done on this front, we have largely established climbing as a legitimate use of public land. They have also developed a number of well-established tools that assist with legal access to private land, like the Climbing Conservation Loan Program, recreational easements, and leases. And they have mobilized climbing conservation, putting crews on the road to help climbing communities address the growing impacts at climbing areas.

Looking forward into 2022 and beyond, Access Fund aims to focus energy in three key areas: scaling programs to meet growing demand, increasing investments in local climbing communities, and inspiring more climbers to join the advocacy movement. All of these initiatives will help ensure a sustainable future for climbing.

To stay informed and join Access Fund as a climbing advocate, sign up for Access Fund Action Alerts today.


About Access Fund
Access Fund is the national advocacy organization that leads and inspires the climbing community toward sustainable access and conservation of 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