It’s easy to fall in love with the sport of climbing. So easy, in fact, that both indoor and outdoor climbing have grown vastly over the last decade due to the thrill, user-friendliness, and the support provided by its community members. People of all ages and abilities around the nation have a large variety of opportunities now more than ever before to experience rock climbing.
Advocating for the sport of climbing is not only central to our mission at Vertical Endeavors but it is also the major focus of the many climbing associations throughout the Midwest as well. Being an advocate and voice for the climbing community helps to preserve, promote, and protect the sport of climbing, which is exactly what the MN Climbers Association, WI Climbers Association, IL Climbers Association, and the Duluth Climbers Coalition hope to accomplish. These nonprofit organizations support our local climbing communities by providing more opportunities for members and climbers alike to practice their sport and pursue their passion for climbing. Learn more about the work being done by these organizations and how you can show support for their cause:
Minnesota Climbers Association
The Minnesota Climbers Association is a non-profit organization made up of members and volunteers dedicated to preserving Minnesota climbing. The MCA advocates access for climbers by encouraging responsible practices, promoting conservation and stewardship of private and publicly held lands, as well as, fostering communication and awareness of the sport to the public.
In the past, the MCA has hosted Adopt-A-Crag events to keep Minnesota crags clean for climbers and other users. In partnership with land managers, they have worked to protect and expand climbing access in Minnesota, and raise funds to support the ongoing work of volunteers who maintain and keep routes safe. Among exciting challenges, the MCA Volunteers and the City of Sandstone have worked together to provide a “farmed” ice climbing destination for winter climbers from the Midwest and beyond.
Learn more about the MCA here: http://www.mnclimbers.org/join-us/
Duluth Climbers Coalition (DCC)
The Duluth Climbers Coalition is a non-profit organization made up of local Duluth climbers, outdoor recreation educators, and business owners who are dedicated to preserving access to Duluth’s diverse climbing resources and promoting quality climbing opportunities for enthusiasts of all disciplines.
With the goal of securing and preserving the access to climbing crags located within the city of Duluth, the DCC hopes to promote quality climbing opportunities for participants of all ages and abilities and across all climbing disciplines (bouldering, rock, ice, and mixed climbing).
Learn more about the DCC here: https://duluthclimbers.org/
Illinois Climbers Association (ICA)
The Illinois Climbers Association is a charitable organization representing the climbers of Illinois and is focussed on preserving climbing and bouldering access through education, conservation, and cooperation. The ICA encourages optimal recreational use of Illinois outdoor climbing resources and encourages and promotes the development of policies and practices that will preserve climbing and bouldering areas in Illinois.
The ICA currently has two ongoing projects: The Holy Boulders and Jackson Falls Re-bolting.
The Holy Boulders is home to some of the best bouldering in the midwest. In 2012, this private property went up for sale and the ICA and Access Fund worked quickly to ensure access for future generations of climbers. The Access Fund purchased the land and in 2016, the ICA became the sole owner of the property. They have been working hard to repay the remainder of the loan and have until December 2020 to raise the remaining amount. Through community support, they’re positive that they will achieve their goal.
Jackson Falls Re-boulting is the first project the ICA will tackle at the Jackson Falls recreation area. Aging hardware is a great concern for climbers. The ICA will systematically replace anchors with new, stainless steel hardware that meet modern standards. The continued maintenance of fixed hardware is essential to prevent bolt failure and improve user safety. This is a tremendous task that will require large funds and countless work hours to update the hardware on over 200 climbing routes. To date, the ICA has re-bolted over 60 routes.
Learn more about the ICA here: http://www.ilclimbers.org/
Wisconsin Climbers Association (WCA)
The Wisconsin Climber’s Association was formed to promote the sport of climbing in Wisconsin and to be a vocal advocate for the Wisconsin climbing community. The WCA fosters connections within the climbing community and addresses access issues while promoting stewardship of the land. As advocates for climbing throughout the state of Wisconsin, the WCA is continually working to gain access to new climbing areas, maintain existing climbing areas and improve the overall experience of climbing.
Recently, the WCA has been involved with several trail-building projects at Devil’s Lake and hosted graffiti and trash cleanups. They’re currently working with the (WI) state’s conservation biologist to see where climbing can and can’t coexist within state natural areas. At the end of the day the WCA is a bunch of climbers who also host spring and fall outdoor climbing events such as: The Altay Classic Trad Challenge and The Boulder Bash.
Learn more about the WCA here: https://wiclimbers.com/
Whether it’s the thrill, user-friendliness, or the support provided by its community members, people of all ages and abilities around the nation have fallen in love with the sport of climbing. Advocating and protecting our favorite sport is a major focus of the many climbing associations throughout the Midwest, and through their efforts as well as the support of the community we can continue to grow both indoor and outdoor climbing for future generations to come.