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The Climbing Advocate

The Climbing Advocate

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Learn more about the work that is happening beyond the crag to keep climbing areas around the United States open and cared for. Check out more on Access Fund's mission at accessfund.org.
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show series
 
This month’s episode features two rockstars out of the Southeast. Meagan Evans, Executive Director of the Southeast Climbers Coalition (SCC) and Daniel Dunn, Access Fund’s Southeast Regional Manager. Together they have worked to steward and conserve some of the region’s most cherished climbing landscapes. Most recently, the SCC protected a 58-acre …
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On today’s episode, we host two conversations to recap Access Fund’s 2023 Annual Climbing Advocacy Conference in Bentonville, Arkansas. First with Dave Thompson, president of the Arkansas Climbers Coalition, and then with Crystal Hudelson and Keith Murakata with Climbers of Color. Dave shares insight into how the explosion of tourism in Arkansas ha…
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On today’s episode, Erik Murdock returns to take a deep dive into an issue that Access Fund and the climbing community have worked on for decades: how fixed anchors are managed in Wilderness areas. It’s an issue that requires context, history, and nuance, which is what this episode delivers.Erik begins with a thorough history of climbing in America…
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On this month’s episode, we chat with Andrew Staff, president of the Illinois Climbers Association (ICA). Andrew’s experience climbing in southern Illinois spans over two decades, so it’s safe to say that he has intimate knowledge of the local climbing and a strong connection with the local community. What the ICA has been able to accomplish over t…
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Today we are joined by zoologist and founder of Climbers for Bat Conservation, Rob Schorr. Rob has a particular passion for bats, which can be somewhat elusive and challenging to study given where they often roost. That’s where climbers come in. Around 10 years ago, Rob recognized an opportunity to partner with climbers to expand research on bat ec…
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Our guest for this episode is Western Massachusetts Climbers Coalition (WMCC) operating director, Stephanie Giguere. Stephanie recently took on this leadership role after spending multiple years as a volunteer with the organization. In the past few years, WMCC has worked through a couple of major projects, securing access to important regional crag…
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On this month’s episode, we are joined by Quinn Brett and Sam Sala. Quinn is an adaptive athlete and prominent voice in the adaptive space. As an avid recreationist, she provides her view on how outdoor accessibility can be improved in our national parks and other outdoor spaces. Sam is an instructor at Paradox Sports where he works with Quinn and …
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Our guest for April’s episode is alpinist and climate activist Molly Kawahata. You may recognize her name from The Scale of Hope, a Patagonia-sponsored film that came out last November. Leading up to the release of that film, Molly was becoming a household name in the climate movement. Pulling on human psychology and neuroscience, her approach to c…
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This month marks the 50th episode of the Climbing Advocate podcast! Chris Sharma, our guest for this special episode, needs little introduction as one of the most prolific and influential climbers of our time. His contribution to the climbing community extends from the crag to the boulder field to the gym with his new indoor climbing ventures. Afte…
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On today’s episode we head south with Elaine Elliott. Elaine is one of the founders and writers of Steep South, a climbing media company. Elaine aspired to find a way to share the rock climbing treasures of the Southeast while also blending in themes of conservation and advocacy. With her history in writing, she found a sweet spot, linking up with …
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This month we head to the Midwest to hear from Raud Kashef and Adam Brummett of the Iowa Climbers Coalition. You read that right, Iowa. No time was wasted as Peter, Raud, and Adam dove right into what makes them so passionate about climbing in a state that many might write off as not having any climbing at all. Raud and Adam prove this theory wrong…
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Each year, Access Fund rallies dozens of exceptional climbing advocates from across the country and this year was no exception. Peter had the chance to catch up with two prominent advocates based in the southeast and discuss some of the things happening in their respective areas. First up is Caleb Timmerman, marketing and outreach director with the…
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Though James Maples, who holds a doctorate in sociology, isn’t a climber himself, he’s still an integral member of the climbing community. As an associate professor at Eastern Kentucky University and director of the EKU Division for Regional Economic Assessment and Modeling, Maples focuses on Appalachian studies and economic impact research. This c…
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We’re not really sure how much free time training for the Olympics leaves you, but we’re pretty sure it’s not a whole lot. Which makes it all the more impressive that Kyra Condie’s resume boasts a number of climbing advocacy and inclusive access accomplishments, most notably as a member of the USA Climbing board of directors. A climber and advocate…
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On today’s episode, we’re joined by Kris Hampton of Power Company Climbing and Josie McKee of the Central Wyoming Climbers Alliance. Together with these Lander locals, we discuss what it means to be a better climber. Being a better climber goes beyond improving at climbing and includes our social and environmental impacts. Kris and Josie offer thei…
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This month, we're joined by Access Fund Southeast Regional Manager Daniel Dunn. Daniel has a unique perspective to share, thanks to his work with the Boulder Climbing Community and Front Range Climbing Stewards. We discuss his new role with Access Fund and his dedication to stewardship. Now working regionally, Daniel collaborates with local climbin…
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In this episode, we learn from Briana Mazzolini-Blanchard and Skye Kolealani, creators of the new Indigenous Field Guide. Over the course of 2021, Briana and Skye created an exceptional resource. The guide provides high-level guidance for preventing damage of cultural resources and tips for how to amplify and integrate Indigenous values regarding c…
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We’re heading east on this month’s episode to interview three advocates, each representing a local climbing organization in Pennsylvania: Kate Fetterolf with Eastern Pennsylvania Alliance of Climbers, Ryan Shipp with South Central Pennsylvania Climbers, and Joel Brady with Southwestern Pennsylvania Climbers Coalition. Kate, Ryan, and Joel shared th…
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When you get right down to it, what we admire most about this month’s podcast guest, Dave Wiens, is his simple but deep passion for trails. Trails and trailwork connect just about everyone who likes outdoor recreation, from climbers to hikers to mountain bikers. Speaking of mountain biking, Wiens is also the executive director of the International …
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The guest for today's episode is author and creative writer, Chris Kalman. A storyteller at heart, Chris’s writing has landed him in the pages of Outside and Climbing Magazine with stories that make you think about both sides of the climbing coin—the good and the bad. He’s also been featured on a number of audio productions too: Dirtbag Diaries, Th…
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Lace up your ice boots for a trip up north to hear from Valdez Adventure Alliance (VAA). Based in southeastern Alaska, the organization has accomplished some amazing things with just two people on staff. On this month’s episode, Lanette Oliver and Michelle LeBlanc, executive director and chief financial officer respectively, passionately describe h…
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In fall of 2021, Access Fund started the new Climber Steward program in Indian Creek. On this month’s podcast, Peter sits down with Lauren Hebert and Johanna Cogen, the inaugural Climber Stewards. They posted up in the Creek during peak season this fall to share information and resources on how to minimize impact and enjoy climbing resources respon…
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The guest for today’s episode is writer, podcaster, and perhaps most notably, the creator of the Climbing Zine, Luke Mehall. Originally hailing from the midwest, Luke was first exposed to climbing in Southern Illinois and at first, he didn’t really take to it. Through the trials and tribulations of being a young adult, Luke truly found his way when…
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Our guest for today’s episode is Felipe Proaño. Felipe is a professional climber based in Quito, Ecuador and is the founder and former president of Fondo de Acceso Andino — the equivalent of Access Fund in Ecuador. Fondo de Acceso Andino is a community-focused organization that works with members of rural communities in Ecuador to discuss opportuni…
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Our guest for today’s episode is Kendra Stritch. Kendra is a competitive ice climber and serves as the board president of the Minnesota Climbers Association (MCA). Minnesota has a lot to offer in terms of climbing, whether it’s rock or ice. As an LCO working on a state-wide level, the MCA works with local Minnesota-based climbing organizations and …
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Our guest for today’s episode is Jon Hawk. Jon is the Director of Gym Operations at Memphis Rox in Tennessee. Based in Soulsville, an underserved neighborhood in South Memphis, Memphis Rox serves as an access point to mentorship and helps community members overcome life’s obstacles. Memphis Rox takes pride in not being for profit, but being for peo…
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Our guest for today’s episode is Briana Mazzolini-Blanchard. Briana sits on the board of the Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition (RRGCC) and is very active in the world of social advocacy. Beyond her role and responsibilities as a board member, she has contributed tremendously to the RRGCC’s social efforts by coordinating L8 events, which aim to pr…
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Our guest for today’s episode is the president of the Bay Area Climbers Coalition (BACC), Peter Monks. Peter recently took over as president in January of this year and he shared an impressive amount of information and stories about the organization. Holding the responsibility over the land of “micro crags”, the BACC has done a remarkable job build…
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The guest for this month’s episode is Access Fund’s Policy Analyst, Curt Shannon. Access Fund and other allies have been working on protecting Oak Flat, an incredible area outside of Phoenix, Arizona, for over 15 years, and Shannon has been focused on protecting this world-class climbing area for almost a decade. Oak Flat is under threat of mining,…
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The guests for today’s episode are Audrey and Curtis Gale-Dyer. This power couple serves as the land management team for the Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition (RRGCC) in Kentucky. As land managers, they are responsible for planning and implementing large- and small-scale stewardship projects all around the Red River Gorge. It’s no secret that the…
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The guest for this month’s episode is Sarah Garlick. Based in North Conway, New Hampshire, Sarah serves as the board president of Friends of the Ledges, an advocacy group that covers the White Mountains of New Hampshire and Maine. Perhaps the most well-known climbing area in the region is Cathedral Ledge, home to some of the most classic and iconic…
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The guest for today’s episode is Ben Scott. Ben is perhaps best known for his role as president of the Northern Colorado Climbers Coalition (NCCC), a position he has held for more than a decade. But Ben’s creative nature has taken him well beyond his experience as NCCC president. Ben has etched his name in the history books by establishing many fir…
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The guest for today’s episode is Access Fund’s fearless leader, executive director Chris Winter. As executive director, Chris leads the charge on organizational development and holds a pulse on all operations of the organization. The unprecedented events of 2020 forced Chris and his team to think on their feet and quickly react to keep their strong…
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This month’s guests are Veronica Baker and Dani Dobrot. Veronica and Dani are, respectively, the executive director and director of community engagement of The Climbing Initiative. Both Veronica and Dani are passionate climbers who have traveled to the far reaches of the globe in pursuit of climbing. It was through their world travels that they bot…
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This month’s guest is Graham Zimmerman. Graham is a professional alpinist, filmmaker, and staunch climate advocate. Through the past couple decades of traveling around the world, prioritizing climbing over everything else, the red flags and telltale signs of a changing environment shifted to the forefront of Graham’s mind. He decided to ramp up his…
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This month’s episode features multiple guests who share their insights and experiences in the space of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. The guests include Access Fund staff member Taimur Ahmad, founder of Brown Girls Climb and Access Fund board member Bethany Lebewitz, and Access Fund board member Kenji Haroutunian. In light of recent eve…
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This is part two of my conversation with the Access Fund–Jeep Conservation Teams. Today is Annie and Mat from the East Conservation Team. This dynamic duo is responsible for the crags and boulders throughout the Eastern United States. As a regional team, they spend extended amounts of time in one spot, completing major stewardship projects at popul…
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My guests today are Loryn Posladek and Kyle Leihsing. Together they make up the Access Fund–Jeep National Conservation Team. As the national team, they are lucky enough to travel across the country for 10 months out of the year, stopping at many different climbing areas along the way to conduct trail work, educate climbers on sustainable trail use,…
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My guest today is Mark Kenyon. Mark is a hunter, author, fellow-podcaster, and dedicated conservationist. He is the first guest of the show who is not a climber! Through rich outdoor experiences growing up, Mark took a dive deep into the world of conservation and public lands history. Now his entrepreneurial experience in conservation is nothing sh…
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This month’s guest is Scott Underwood. Scott sits on the board of the Washington Climbers Coalition (WCC) and spearheads the Olympic Peninsula Climbers chapter of the WCC. He also leads the Washington Anchor Replacement Project (WARP). He has been an influential figure in Washington state because of his extraordinary rebolting and anchor replacemen…
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Today’s guest is Kareemah Batts. Kareemah is an adaptive climber based in New York City with one incredible story. She was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer back in 2009 and was forced to have one of her legs amputated to save her life.A climbing trip out to Colorado profoundly changed her life. After this moving experience, she founded the Adap…
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My guest this month was none other than Tommy Caldwell. We all know Tommy for his athletic accomplishments, but what’s becoming just as impressive is his commitment to advocacy. He has put in a tremendous amount of work not only advocating for climbing but also for climate change and wild spaces in general. His advocacy work has quickly become a la…
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This month’s episode features two advocates from the indoor climbing world, Paul Guarino and Hilary Harris. Both Paul and Hilary are founders of their indoor facilities, Paul with Ascend Pittsburgh and Hilary with Evo Rock + Fitness gyms. In addition to their entrepreneurial spirit, Paul and Hilary sit on the boards of directors for the Southwester…
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This month’s episode features Access Fund Policy Director Erik Murdock. Erik provides some incredible insight on the top five threats facing our nation’s public lands. If you are at all interested in being brought up to speed on everything public lands, there is a ton of information in this episode.Erik took topics that can be really complicated an…
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This month’s episode features Aaron Mike. Based out of Tucson, Arizona, Aaron operates Pangaea Mountain Guides and is Access Fund’s native lands regional coordinator.As a Navajo, Aaron is well-versed in the issues surrounding climbing and the sovereignty of native lands. We covered the issues associated with climbing and native interests on public …
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This episode features two crusher advocates coming out of the Southeast: Cody Roney and Andrea Hassler. Cody is the former executive director of the Southeastern Climbers Coalition (SCC), and her list of accolades during her time with the SCC is exemplary. Andrea has now taken the reins as SCC’s executive director. She says she has big shoes to fil…
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This month’s episode features a powerful individual in the climbing world: founder of Flash Foxy, Shelma Jun. Shelma started Flash Foxy as a social media platform to provide a way for ladies to share their climbing stoke. It quickly evolved into something much larger, as now she hosts multiple women’s climbing festivals a year to celebrate women in…
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For this episode, we highlighted the latest happenings in the Northeast. My guests were Seth Maciejowski with CRAG-VT and Mike Morin with Access Fund. They have done an incredible amount of work for New England climbers and continue to do so on a number of stewardship and acquisition projects.We covered CRAG-VT’s approach to conservation and Seth’s…
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My guest today is Brian Tickle, Access Fund’s Texas regional director. The Texas Legislature was entering their session in January when I first had Brian on, and now that the session has ended we wanted to chat again about the outcomes. Brian and Access Fund had their plates full working on influencing policy surrounding funding for state parks and…
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My guest for this episode is Ashlee Milanich, the executive director of the Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition (RRGCC) based in Lexington, Kentucky. Ashlee has spent the majority of her time climbing in the Red and knows the place inside and out.We covered some of the historical events and issues that climbers and the RRGCC have dealt with in the p…
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