AAC, Central Rockies Section. On February 14-17 the Fifth Annual Cody Ice Festival was held in the Shoshone River Valley southwest of Cody, Wyoming. CRS Chair Greg Sievers and AAC Board Member Charlie Mace were on hand to support the popular activity. The Section donated several AAC fleece embroidered jackets for the auction and supplied free AAC mugs to all attendees. This small, quaint event offers everyone a chance to mingle and socialize in the rustic setting of the DDX Ranch. The ice climbing in the area offers over 100 routes, few with grades less than WI3+. For those unfamiliar with the area, it is a world-class destination for ice climbing and a must for your resume. However, be prepared to hike, spend long, full days out, and be self sufficient and exceedingly safe. Treat it like an alpine adventure where your cell phone won’t work.
Greg Sievers continued a diligent review of the proposed relocation of the Twin Owls parking lot at the popular Lumpy Ridge climbing area in Estes Park, Colorado. Unfortunately a challenge to the legal access through the MacGregor Ranch, which the public has used for over 40 years, failed. Relocation of the public access will add 1.5 miles to the climber’s day if the destination were the “Book” or “Sundance” areas on Lumpy. This has been a 20-year process for the National Park Service, which included three environmental assessments, much public debate, and negative commentary. We will likely see the end of an era in the near future.
The 2003 Lumpy Trails Day on Lumpy Ridge was a commanding success! This is the third year that the AAC has hosted climbers, Club members, locals, and National Park Service employees to collaborate and improve the climber access trails to these highly popular and photogenic rock climbing crags. The narrow single-track access trails leading to the each of the magnificent crags are eroded by summer storms and increasing use. About 35 people showed up on October 18. Over 500 vertical feet of the rugged trail to Batman Rock was given a “complete” face lift, and at the Little Twin Owls bouldering area, 16 additional water bars were placed. The AAC provided donuts in the morning and full lunches delivered to the trail workers in the field. All volunteers received goodies from corporate sponsors, and a raffle was held that included outdoor gear donated by the AAC. Thanks to the vision of the Access Fund and their Adopt-A-Crag program, users and climbers are turning out in their own neighborhoods nationwide to repair trails at climbing crags like Lumpy Ridge.
The Section responded to a recent Environmental Assessment in Rocky Mountain National Park regarding the addition of paved, improved bus stops along the Bear Lake Road. While improvement for visitors is needed, we support vehicular access by the public in the years to come, despite shuttle bus improvement and increased use. With alpinists and climbers often starting their treks in the wee hours of the morning, we feel it is imperative for the NPS to maintain public vehicular access. The Section also responded to Environmental Assessments at Indian Creek and Fisher Towers recreation areas, where the BLM is developing a use plan.
Greg Sievers, Chair