Access Fund Annual Report

The Access Fund is the national advocacy organization that protects America’s climbing. We collaborate with climbers, volunteers, land managers, and elected officials to keep our climbing areas open and protected. Here’s what we accomplished in 2014, thanks to your help.

RIP The Cobra, Fisher Towers, UT | Photo Courtesy of Dan Holz ©

A Thriving Grassroots Network


Local Climbing Organizations


Regional Coordinators


Joint Member Local Climbing Organizations


Regional Offices

$39,984 in grants awarded for 17 projects

Acquisitions $15,000

Parking / Trailhead Improvements $8,500

Trail Work $8,231

Education / Signage

Local Climbing Organization Start Up $2,694

Management $950

Research $247

Access Preserved at 179 Climbing Areas

Launched the Rock Project Education Movement

The Access Fund partnered with Black Diamond Equipment to launch ROCK Project, an education initiative to help climbers adopt responsible behaviors that ensure the future of climbing access. ROCK Project engages the climbing community and activates positive social norms. Our first tactic was The Pact, which encourages climbers to commit to responsible outdoor ethics.

Thousands of climbers have committed to the pact. Have you?

Commit to the Pact »

Hidden Valley Re-Opened!

The Access Fund and Carolina Climbers Coalition (CCC) acquired 21 acres of the Hidden Valley climbing area in Virginia, which had been closed since 2004 due to management concerns. The landowners approached the Access Fund with an interest in selling, and the Access Fund began working with CCC to complete the purchase. The Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign loaned $30,000 to the CCC to reach the $45,000 price tag. The CCC closed on the property in September of 2014 and is fundraising to pay off the loan and steward this climbing area for generations to come.

© Photo courtesy of Shannon Millsaps

$626,727 has revolved back into the Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign since its inception in 2009, making more funds available to save other threatened climbing areas.

An Unprecedented 205
Adopt a Crag Events Across the Nation

The Access Fund envisions a world where climbers are seen as stewards of the land, versus simply users of the land. The Adopt a Crag program helps climbers give back, and 2014 was a banner year for volunteer stewardship. Here’s one of our favorite events from the year.

Miller Fork: Johnny and Alex Trail Day

In 2013, the Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition (RRGCC) teamed with Access Fund to purchase a new climbing area in Kentucky: Miller Fork Recreational Preserve. With its impressive sandstone cliffs, this property is destined to be a crown jewel in Red River Gorge climbing, but it first needed the infrastructure to make the area sustainable for climbing. Over a weekend in July 2014, the RRGCC rallied 100 volunteers to construct a mile of new trail to five crags, install 15 trail signs, and build two bridges and a set of stairs. This event is a prime example of exceptional leadership, planning, and community volunteerism.


people volunteered for Adopt a Crag events in 2014


Volunteer Hours

Access Fund–Jeep Conservation Team Continues Legacy of Stewardship

37 Stewardship projects, 29 States, 298 Days on road

15,740 Feet of New Trail Constructed

7,882 Feet of Social Trails Closed

930 Volunteers Engaged

54 Drainage Structures Installed

33 Stone Staircases Built

25 Retaining Walls Constructed

35 Areas Cleared of Trash

6 Cliffs Cleared of Graffiti

Eagle Bluff Saved!

The Access Fund and Clifton Climbers Alliance (CCA) purchased Eagle Bluff in central Maine after the owner passed away and his family closed access due to liability concerns and sought to sell. The Access Fund secured an Option Agreement to purchase Eagle Bluff and a recreational lease to reopen this incredible area. In six months, climbers and conservationists from New England and beyond raised over $100,000, and Access Fund assigned the Option Agreement to CCA to complete the purchase. The Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign provided a small loan to bridge the gap between available donations and pending grant applications. A heartfelt thanks to everyone who generously donated to keep Eagle Bluff in climber-friendly hands!

2,813 Acres Conserved at 17 Climbing Areas through the Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign since its inception in 2009

New GIS Powers Climbing Advocacy and Policy

The Access Fund developed a new Geographic Information System (GIS) that allows us to maintain an up-to-date geo-database of climbing resources, analyze climbing issues alongside land ownership and environmental data, and share geospatial information in a sophisticated manner. This capability significantly benefits our national advocacy work, as policy makers and land managers must maintain a balance between protecting resources and managing user groups. With this GIS, we can give land managers the data they need to make smarter decisions about recreation management.

Shaped 25 plans for federally managed climbing areas.

Shaped 25 plans for federally managed climbing areas.

advocacy actions taken

advocacy actions taken

50 Years

Wilderness Climbing Access and Conservation

Yosemite Valley | Photo courtesy of Jimmy Chin ©

The Access Fund policy team spent 239 hours advocating for climbers’ interests in Washington, DC.

2014 Financials*

The Access Fund had another strong year in 2014. Overall, revenue increased by 5%, with 82% of revenue spent on mission-related programs. We ended the year with an 8% (or $145,000) increase in net assets, with 51% of the organization’s total assets ($1.01 million) committed to our land conservation revolving loan program.


Revenue Growth


Paid back into local communities through joint membership


of revenue spent on mission-related programs

Support $1.7 Million

Individuals, foundations, and organizations $662,000

Member Dues $452,000

Support $475,000

Land Conservation Campaign $43,000

Contributions $28,000

Other Income $44,000

Expense $1.6 Million

Program Expenses

Stewardship and Conservation $547,000

Land Acquisition and Protection $177,000

Education $119,000

Climbing Management Policy $325,000

Local Support and Mobilization $105,000

Operational Expenses

Fundraising $185,000

General and Admin $100,000

* Based on preliminary financial data

Access Fund Board of Directors and Staff

Board Officers

Mark Baum, VA

Vice President
Kenji Haroutunian, CA

Ryan Gellert, Amsterdam

Alex Kutches, WA

Board Directors

Elaina Arenz, WV

Lyn Barraza, CA

Jeff Buhl, CO

Matt Compton, OR

Peter Croft, CA

Jonah Harrison, WA

Jamie McNally, TX

Perry Norris, CA

Mark Synnott, ME

Honorary Board Members

Rick Accomazzo, CO

Larry Gustafson, TX

John Juraschek, NC

Michael Kennedy, CO

Armando Menocal, WY

Dave Rosenstein, NY

Bill Supple, VT


Mandy Bishop
Office Manager

Jim Chase
Operations Director

Peter Dodge
Membership Manager

Danielle Estabrook

Leici Hendrix
Development Director

Travis Herbert
Education Director

Jason Keith
Sr. Policy Advisor

Zachary Lesch-Huie
National Affiliate Director & Southeast Regional Director

Mike Morin
Conservation Specialist

Erik Murdock
Policy Director

Amanda Peterson
Conservation Specialist

Brady Robinson
Executive Director

Joe Sambataro
Access Director & Northwest Regional Director

Curt Shannon
Policy Analyst

Anneliese Thies
Development Associate

Holly Smolenski
Communications & Marketing Director

Ty Tyler
Stewardship Director

Chris Archer
General Counsel

12,024 Members

Each one makes a difference in our ability to protect America’s climbing. Here’s one of our favorite 2014 member stories.

Heston Pendleton

Heston is one of the Access Fund's youngest and most active members. In his first year of life, Heston (with help from his father, Tim) raised $1,700 and encouraged 23 people to join! A huge thank you to Heston and Tim Pendleton for their creativity and commitment to climbing access.

150 Corporate Partners

Our work would not be possible without the generous companies and professionals who donate their money and talents to protect America’s climbing. These partners support the Access Fund and you! We encourage you to support them.


of Access Fund revenue comes from corporate partners


new partners in 2014


gyms welcomed into new Member Gym program

Thank You

We continued our trajectory of programmatic and financial growth in 2014, ending the year with the largest operating budget and balance sheet of the Access Fund’s 23-year history. This sets us up to make key operational investments in 2015, including a new website and modern database to enhance programming, fundraising, and joint membership efforts.

We’re also actively pursuing five potential climbing area acquisitions and expanding our policy shop to better support local (state and municipal) issues. We are working to expand the Access Fund Conservation Team and put trail crews in regions with high concentrations of climbers and climbing areas. Finally, we’re hosting six major ROCK Project education events across the country — all while deepening our partnerships with local communities by expanding our LCO network and joint membership offerings.

Your continued support will make this work possible. Thanks for another great year!

Brady Robinson
Access Fund Executive Director