ACCESS. It’s a word we all know, but what does that mean in the world of climbing? Generally, we use the word ‘access,’ to refer to the status of our ability to climb at a given area. For example, a crag may be located on private property, and the owners may have prohibited climbing on their property. In these cases, the area is ‘closed.’ Others are permanently protected with climbing explicitly allowed in perpetuity; for example, the majority of Hanging Mountain which is owned by the WMCC. Many crags exist somewhere in the middle of the access continuum, where land managers may have looked the other way, or a handshake deal exists without a formal document ensuring long term access. Even in areas where access is otherwise secure, there could be other issues, such as lack of parking, sensitive habitat or impacts of overuse. It’s our mission to work through complicated access issues and change crags as many crags as possible to GREEN!
GREEN = If a crag’s access status is green, it means that long term access to climbing is secured. There are many ways to secure access, including legal documents such as an MOU or a Conservation Restriction, and straight out purchasing the property. Even if an area is green, climbers need to be considerate of neighbors and follow Leave No Trace principles in order to reduce environmental impact. There may still be closures within areas that are green, such as seasonal falcon closures.
YELLOW = A yellow status means that the area is open to climbing but that there is no formal agreement protecting climbing access. Climbers are free to climb at yellow areas, but should be extra aware of potential issues that could lead to closure of climbing by land managers. A lack of infrastructure (such as parking, trails and belay platforms) also contributes to an area having a yellow status.
RED = The red access status means that the land managers have asked climbers not to climb at that crag. The area is closed. It can take years of work, and a lot of patience, to re-open a climbing area once it is closed. If climbers do not respect a closure, it makes it more difficult for the WMCC to work with land managers to re-open the area.