SoCo CRAG Awarded Access Fund Grant

From the Access Fund website:

Southern Colorado CRAG – Organizational Start-up
A grant was awarded to Southern Colorado CRAG (SoCo CRAG) to help cover start-up costs to become a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. The Southern Colorado front range features numerous crags on private property. In their first year, SoCo CRAG has been highly active, improving and establishing positive relationships with landowners to protect threatened areas and to open new access. The organization’s 501(c)(3) status will help with fundraising and future land conservation projects.

1st Adopt-a-Crag a Success!

As an event organizer you always wonder if people will show.  The Forest Service was blown away.  The USFS said that when groups say they will need tools for 15 volunteers only two usually show.  We had 18 climbers show!

I was psyched to see so many people show up, with climbers from SoCo CRAG, City Rock Climbing Center, Pueblo YMCA climbing wall, and Colorado College making an appearance.  The diversity was also tremendous: a father and his son, a nanny and her girl, college students, and a good mix of dedicated climbers.  The willingness and eagerness of the volunteers were outstanding.

After a brief introduction at the trailhead by myself and the Forest Service we were off to work.  We split into two groups and worked on brushing trail as well as cleaning and creating water bars.

After brushing and clearing the main trail, a crew of climbers spent a couple of hours on the overgrown slope beneath the Wild Side and some boulder problems, clearing scrub oak.  They moved some very large boulders and made a trail leading through the maze of rocks and ledges.  What a difference this will make for the safety of others and the comfort of belayers and spotters.

Another group of people helped to mitigate water drainage and erosion on the main trail leading to the crag.  I spent the first hour of the event checking in some of the late arrivals and getting them Clif Bars, Nalgene bottles, AF stickers, and chalk bags.  Just about everyone went home with something.  As I finally hiked up to the crag I couldn’t believe all the work that had been completed.

After the work was called off a few people stuck around to boulder while others sport climbed and replaced belay station anchors on KC and Bam Bam.  We accomplished quite a bit.  I’m sure that many will look forward to next year.

A huge thanks to all those that showed up, including the Forest Service (Lake Isabel Trail Crew) for supporting this event from the idea phase through the execution of the event.  We’ve committed to putting it on again next year.

Thanks to the Access Fund, US Forest Service, Chris G, Chris M, Jason, Ambree, Ashley, Byron, Josh, Dave, Jose, Jose Jr., Anthony, Jeremiah, Nathan, Edward, Hannah, Tyler, and Ben R.

Needless to say the Newlin Creek Adopt-a-Crag was a tremendous success.

Ben Bruestle


Newlin Creek Adopt-a-Crag

SoCo CRAG (Southern Colorado Climber’s Resource & Action Group) is proud to partner with the USFS to host Newlin Creek Adopt-a-Crag on Saturday, September 18 as part of the Access Fund’s 7th Annual Adopt-a-Crag, presented by Title Sponsor Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), Presenting Sponsor W.L. Gore, and Contributing Sponsor Clif Bar.

Adopt-a-Crag, the Access Fund’s signature event, is a national commitment by the climbing community to natural resource stewardship and volunteerism.  Activities often include litter clean-ups, visual impact mitigation, trail construction and restoration, erosion control, and wildlife monitoring.  This year during the month of September, the Access Fund expects Adopt-a-Crag will produce trail restoration projects and crag clean-ups at over 100 climbing areas around the country.  The Newlin Creek Adopt-a-Crag will include litter clean-up as well as trail restoration and erosion control.  Just bring your work gloves and boots and we’ll meet in the Newlin Creek trailhead parking lot at 9am.  The Forest Service will supply all the tools.  For more info, contact Ben Bruestle at (719) 924-4297.

Directions to Newlin Creek trailhead:  From the intersection of CO 115 and CO 67 in Florence, drive south on CO 67 for 4.6 miles to CR 15.  The intersection is marked as National Forest access, Newlin Creek Trail.  Turn right on CR 15.  The road forks in 2.6 miles; stay on CR 15 by driving on the right fork.  Drive through Florence Mountain Park and past the caretaker’s house, following signs to Newlin Creek Trail.  About .2 mile past the house is parking if the road is too rough for your vehicle.  In another .2 mile is the national forest boundary sign, with parking near a little pond.  Drive or walk another .1 mile to the trailhead.

SoCo CRAG is a conservation group dedicated to preserving natural resources while maintaining public access for responsible climbing in the Wet Mountains and surrounding areas.

The Access Fund, a 501(c)(3) non-profit advocacy and conservation organization, is the nation’s largest climbers’ organization, representing over 1.6 million technical rock climbers and mountaineers nationwide.  The Access Fund’s mission is to keep climbing areas open, and to conserve the climbing environment.  Preserving the opportunity to climb and the diversity of the climbing experience are fundamental to our mission.

The organization works in cooperation with climbers, other recreational users, public land managers, and private landowners to promote the responsible use and sound management of climbing resources throughout the United States.  The Access Fund encourages an ethic of personal responsibility, self-regulation, strong conservation values, and minimum impact practices among climbers.

The Access Fund web site ( lists all of the locations of Adopt-a-Crag as well as contact information for each event.

Minutes from March 16 & June 15 Meetings

March 16, 2010
Call to order and roll call
Vision for organization as well as mission and goals agreed on
Considered CRAG membership fees that would go toward access to privately held bouldering areas and signage to assist landowners
Brought up idea of future service projects with USFS
Jason Wilson gave update on Little Owl Canyon, Siloam Stone Mine, and access
Talked about focus areas we want to open up
Discussed a bolting ban at the Quiet Towers

June 15, 2010
Call to order and roll call
Approval of previous meeting minutes
Ben Bruestle update on Beulah climbing
Further talks on considering nonprofit status for organization
Discussed possibility of service project planned by Nelson with USFS and Adopt-a-Crag with Access Fund
Discussed lead bolting-only and no power drill use at Quiet Towers
To contact ARI about fixing anchors at many areas
Upcoming outing to SD Needles
USFS wants our help in creating climbing management plan for Wet MT area.  Raptor Closure and lift of ban for next year at Tanner Dome if no nesting birds located by April.
Organizational needs of website and business cards
Adjourned meeting with Ben to contact Royal Gorge, apply for nonprofit status, set up Adopt-a-Crag, contact AFI, contact climbing organizations in Boulder about climbing management plan; Jason to develop website and contact owners of classic Gill area; Chris M to contact local lawyer/climber about legality of SoCo CRAG release forms and land acquisitions