Central Rockies Section. The year started out with a bang in January, when the Central Rockies Section sponsored the 13th Annual Ouray Ice Festival. We provided a station and the CRS Tent, a volunteer staff, and swag. Our members Ryan McCombs, Chris Kellner, and JP Parsons, plus Ellen Stein, Trevor , and Dario from Chile were provided with a group motel room by the CRS in exchange for staffing the table for three days, promoting the AAC, and serving hot chocolate. Spirits were high, and despite the unseasonably cold temperature, the crew was still successful in signing up 17 new AAC members. AAC staff members Phil Powers and Charlie Mace were in attendance to support the CRS crew and add that extra level of oversight and polish that all good volunteers appreciate. Ouray area local Danika Gilbert developed and hosted the Women’s Base Camp Breakfast. Twenty-two women attended, aged 14 to their mid-70s, and talked about everything from training techniques and networking with other women, to peeing methods while out adventuring! The catered breakfast was great (Sara from Secret Garden catering). Danika stated “we felt specially honored that Eve Nott and Julie Johnson joined us.”
In February the Section helped sponsor the 9th Annual Cody Ice Festival in Cody, Wyoming. Billed as the “Friendliest Little Ice Festival in the Northern Rockies,” it boasts nearly 100 routes, most of which are multi-pitch ice and all of which are in a very remote, beautiful area.
In June the CRS Chair put out a call for grant ideas, with over $3,000 available from CRS shirt sales, banquets, auctions, and donations over the last 10 years. Two $1,000 grants were awarded based on the numerous letters that our members provided. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center received a grant to further efforts in “wet avalanche” research. New communication equipment will allow retrieval of real-time analysis and use it to run snowpack models and provide information to their public Web site. The second grant went to the Colorado 14er Initiative for the Mt. Massive ascent trail, which must be re-routed around wet or steep fall-line areas.
This year I confronted the human waste problem that many popular crags face. Partnering with Restop® I designed an oak “BagBox” for use at trailheads to dispense these small backcountry bags. Rocky Mountain National Park was sufficiently excited to put two Bag- Boxes into immediate service. Seven other National Parks are looking at this box design.
In October the 7th annual Lumpy Trails Day at Lumpy Ridge in RMNP was held in conjunction with the Access Fund’s Adopt-a-Crag program. It was amazing that 37 volunteers showed up in a full-blown, early-season wet blizzard. Although this was less than half of the original group of volunteers, it was nevertheless a proud showing. Rock stair construction was abandoned for safety, but access trails were reclaimed, and over 500 native plants were plugged in where a parking lot once was. Breakfast, lunch, and great swag were provided by local businesses and the CRS.
The year ended with a sad note on a high point. After 10 years of leading the Central Rockies Section, I resigned my position as Chair. My tenure spanned five AAC presidents and dozens of directors and included chairing the original Huts and Sections committees. I felt honored to receive the Access Fund’s Sharp End Award in 2002 and the AAC’s Angelo Heil- prin Citation in 2004.
Greg Sievers, former Chair