Scaling New Heights: Western Mass Climbers Coalition Earns Land Conservation Award from Access Fund

Each year, the Access Fund recognizes individuals and Local Climbing Organizations for their stewardship, dedication to the community and sustainable access through the Climbing Advocate awards. We’re thrilled that the WMCC was chosen for a 2022 Land Conservation award for our work to conserve and protect Hanging Mountain in Sandisfield, MA. WMCC Operating Executive, Stephanie Giguere, accepted the award in person this November at the 2023 Access Fund Climbing Advocacy Conference.                           

In 2019, WMCC members Rob Sullivan and Jeff Squire secured an opportunity for the WMCC to purchase the mostly undeveloped cliff. With the help of the community and key partners such as the Ragged Mountain Foundation, Access Fund, Appalachian Mountain Club, and others, the WMCC was able to purchase the 14 acres and begin developing the area. The WMCC built a parking lot, kiosks, trails and belay platforms, all with meticulous concern for conservation of the natural environment and sensitive species that inhabit the area.

Our vision for Hanging Mountain extends beyond the thrill of climbing; it encompasses a commitment to environmental stewardship. We are working hand in hand with Access Fund to implement sustainable practices, protecting the delicate ecosystems that make Hanging Mountain unique. This award is not just a recognition of past achievements but a commitment to a responsible and sustainable future.

We are immensely grateful to the Access Fund for recognizing our efforts and providing support that will further fuel our mission. As we reflect on this achievement, we are more committed than ever to expanding our impact. Hanging Mountain is just the beginning. We invite you to join us on this journey, whether as a climber, supporter, or partner. Together, we can continue to scale new heights, not just in the vertical world of rock climbing but in our shared commitment to conservation and community.

Stephanie, a 30 year old woman wearing a Hanging Mountain T-shirt, accepts the sandstone award from another woman, who is smiling.