AAC, Central Rockies Section. The year began on a high note with the Section providing customized, limited edition embroidered jackets, vests, and hats at the AAC Annual Meeting at Snowbird, Utah. These items are sold in hopes of adding a sense of camaraderie for all members nationwide. The proceeds stay within the Section to help support local climbing issues and Section events. We also had a table at the annual meeting, where we sold mugs and cups to promote the AAC Hut System.
The CRS added two new huts during the year. The Riverside Inn in Ouray and the Colorado Mountain School in Estes Park have agreed to offer (card carrying) members a 20% discount on lodging. Some restrictions may apply; so call them directly for reservations.
In August the CRS donated $1,190 to the Grand Teton Climbers Ranch for the purchase of a new energy efficient washer and dryer. These appliances will be metered and provided to guests of the Ranch. This use of our funds is directly related to the support from local climbers and AAC members in our annual events and sales. This year the concessionaires license for the Ranch was up for review and renewal by the National Park Service, which offered it for public bidding. We are pleased to report that the AAC will retain the permit rights.
In April the CRS hosted two public meetings in Estes Park to review the proposed Environmental Assessment and changes to parking at Lumpy Ridge in Rocky Mountain National Park. For over 20 years there has been a dispute regarding use of the access road through the MacGregor Ranch. At present the NPS is doing a land appraisal, and a likely solution to the longstanding impasse would include a land swap with the ranch. This will provide additional rocks with possible climbing routes and restore previously owned water and grazing rights to the ranch. A decision is expected in early 2003.
On October 12 the CRS hosted its second annual Lumpy Trails Day at Lumpy Ridge, in Estes Park, as part of the Access Fund’s Adopt-A-Crag program. Attendance at this small event has already doubled from 18 to 35 in just two years.. Volunteers have been drawn from the AAC and Access Fund memberships, the University of Colorado, the University of Denver’s Alpine Club, the Colorado Mountain School, the REI Flagship store, and the National Park Service, as well as local residents. This growing turnout shows that not only are climbers good stewards and considerate users of the land, but are also proactive in their interaction with one of our country's largest land management agencies. The National Park Service gets poor press and has many awkward management tasks to balance, for which it is often unduly chastised. However, in projects like this we see that not only are NPS employees climbers themselves, but also are excited about working with climbers to improve the local climbing habitat. Another important part of this project has been the improved joint activity of the Access Fund and the AAC. These two organizations serve wide, often very diverse values for American climbers. The most important value lies is the desire of climbers to maintain access to our walls as well as to maintain a memorable historic record of our predecessors while setting precedent for the future. It would be sad if climbers didn't have both of these organizations working together to support their interests; all climbers should be members of both.
Greg Sievers, Chair