The Transylvania Times -

By Park Baker
Staff Writer 

Local Young Rock Climbers Step Up - Brevard NC


Young local climbers who are members of the Brevard Rock Gym climbing team recently raised $2,000 for the Carolina Climbers Coalition. (Times photo by Park Baker)

The Brevard Rock Gym climbing team recently held a climb-a-thon and donated the proceeds to the Carolina Climbers Coalition (CCC).

The team, whose members number about 25 young climbers, raised $2,000.

The money will be used by the CCC to continue its mission to not only promote Rock Climbing in the region, but also pay lease agreements to private landowners who allow climbers to access some stellar routes that would otherwise be off limits.

The climb-a-thon event required that the young athletes remain honest. Each climb they did in the gym or on the rock was "sponsored" by friends and family members who pledged an amount per climb. That amount was typically a few dollars, but it quickly added up.

Some team members worked with their close climbing team members, banging out climb after climb in one day.

Will Goodson, the CCC's treasurer, was at Brevard Rock Gym Monday night to thank the Brevard Rock Gym team for their efforts, and share with them what the CCC has been up to recently.

"We're a coalition of climbers who has got together to promote access to climbing, being good stewards of the climbing already available, meeting with land managers to make sure that Rock Climbing that is allowed on public lands and advocating for rock climbing," he said. "Preservation and education is also important. A lot of times these areas we climb on are private property, and through the CCC we gain access and make an agreement with the land owner."

The CCC was started on Jan. 16, 1995, after an access issue at Crowder's Mountain, outside Charlotte, where the well-known climbing spot, which has Bouldering, traditional and sport climbing, was in danger of being closed.

"We were at risk of losing permanent access to Crowder's," said Goodson. "So, about 100 climbers in the region got together and said, 'We're not going to let this happen.'"

While that success story is inspiring, not every climbing spot has been saved. Climbers lost access to Howard's Knob, outside of Appalachian State University in Boone, because they could not come to an agreement with the community.

The CCC is a 501-3c nonprofit organization, so any donation they receive is tax deductible.

"I don't get paid a dime to do any of this," Goodson said. "We're all just passionate volunteers, so all the money we get goes right back into education, purchasing climbing access, or buying bolts for places like Hidden Valley just over the Virginia state line, a newly accessible climbing area."

"The climbing community now owns that sizeable cliff, and it was also because of the CCC and the Access Fund, a national organization that does the same thing we do, but on a bigger scale."

Recent CCC Projects

Laurel Knob in Panthertown Valley, one of the largest cliffs on the East Coast, was recently acquired by the CCC, with help from the Access Fund, a national climbing coalition.

The transaction was valued at $250,000, and the CCC now holds the deed to the property.

Hidden Valley is a more than 20-acre cliff and was recently recognized by the state of Virginia as one of its recreational treasures. Stewardship by the CCC has updated anchors with modern metals and secured access to this gem.

Rumbling Bald West Side is another new acquisition.

The Rumbling Bald boulders, in the town of Lake Lure, draw thousands of climbers a year and hosts several climbing competitions.

An additional six acres of prime boulders have recently been added to the local climbing inventory, and as part of Chimney Rock State Park, will provide an avenue for opening more routes.

The CCC is also involved in the ongoing Pisgah/Nantahala Plan Revision Process.

This management plan will address the needs and values of both national forests.

By making the collective voices of the climbing community heard in the plan revision process, the CCC is helping ensure that climbing access is considered when the U.S. Congress ultimately signs off on that management plan, which will govern the forests for another 15 years.

Providing training for rescue operations is also a key part of what the CCC does. Climbing accidents are an unfortunate reality of the sport, but rescue teams trained in equipment use and ascension can aid rescue workers when it counts. Recent partnerships with fire and rescue squads in Virginia and North Carolina to develop rescue plans will establish guidelines and best practices for helping those in need.

Goodson said that in Western North Carolina there is still more land that climbers can get access to.

"Now is the time to think about it," he said. "When you're out on the rocks, do things like pack out your garbage, and pick up after others.

"You guys are already doing a lot. That $2,000 almost pays for one of those annual leases on those properties I was talking about. You're doing your part and, you may not even realize, the more people we have, the more we can do."


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