Do you remember your first time climbing? I do.
Fumbling through a figure eight, palms sweating, toes feeling way too cramped in chalked-up rental shoes. I got halfway up the wall before I felt my forearms would burst, and sat nervously back on the rope, studying the brightly colored holds to find my next move.
One visit to the gym and that’s all it took. I was hooked.
I climbed outside for the first time that summer—and can still feel my toes curling into those new green leather lace-ups, gripping the cool New Hampshire granite. I felt strong…and free. I climbed the clean granite slabs and made it to the top without falling. I felt powerful and adventurous. Like I could climb any route—push myself and overcome.
Even now, many years later, when I put on my climbing shoes and rope up in the mountains of Utah, I feel that same rush of adrenaline and excitement. I still feel like I can do anything.
Don’t you feel it when you get out and climb?
All of us with a pair of climbing shoes in our closet understand the love of climbing and the power it has in our lives. And, at the Access Fund, we protect climbing areas for people who feel the same way—people like you.
The Access Fund was founded in 1991 to keep climbing areas open and conserve the climbing environment. We represent and support over 2.3 million climbers in all forms of climbing—rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, and bouldering. Today we have over 10,000 members and affiliates who support our mission. This year, we’ll host more than 160 climbing trail and crag cleanup days. We'll buy private rock climbing areas and open them to the public. And we lobby on federal, state, and local levels to ensure access to areas we all love to climb.
It’s been many years since I’ve worn those green leather lace-ups. But I still feel that same excitement when I pull on my climbing shoes today. Now I look at kids’ faces as they lace up their first pair of climbing shoes. And I know it doesn’t matter if the shoes are a little too big. They’re in for plenty of adventure ahead.
That’s where it all begins—at the crags, cliffs, and boulder fields that Access Fund supporters protect and help maintain. I hope you keep the spirit of climbing alive with a donation to the Access Fund today.