January 2013


CASBC and TAWKROC ink agreement

for Kootenays

written by Vince Hempsall

The Association of West Kootenay Rock Climbers has finalized an historic agreement with the Climbers’ Access Society of BC.
The two organizations have inked a deal that sees TAWKROC (an unincorporated assocation based in Nelson) become a Chapter of CASBC (an incorporated society based in Vancouver). This marks the first time an external organization has become a “chapter” of CASBC.
According to Vince Hempsall, the secretary of TAWKROC and the Kootenay representative of CASBC, the agreement made sense because both organizations had similar mandates. CASBC, which was founded in 1995, is primarily concerned with public access and conservation of cliffs and mountains around the province and TAWKROC, founded in 2010, supports and promotes the responsible development and maintenance of safe rock climbing areas in the West Kootenays.
“This agreement is mutually beneficial,” says Hempsall. “CASBC now has defined representation in the Kootenay region and TAWKROC has access to the significant resources of CASBC.”
The groups have worked together in the past on two projects including the construction of the new access stairs at the Hall Siding area near Ymir. CASBC donated close to $2,000 in materials for that project and TAWKROC directors and volunteers worked a total of 16 hours over two days on it.
The second project revolved around the upgrade of anchors at Kinnaird Bluffs in Castlegar, arguably the oldest climbing area in the Kootenays. Routes started being developed there in the 1960s and many have rusted or inadequate anchors. TAWKROC submitted a proposal to CASBC to get funding to replace 15 anchors and, through a mutual program with Mountain Equipment Co-op, was given the hardware to do so. Dave Lussier and Vince Hempsall, both founding directors of TAWKROC, started the upgrades yesterday and will continue over the next month. For more on their progress, log on to the “Anchor Upgrades at Kinnaird” post.
“I’m really excited about how much we’ll be able to accomplish now that the logistics of partnering the two organizations are finalized,” says Hempsall.
For more about TAWKROC, log on to www.tawkroc.org.

New Anchors for Kinnaird

for Kootenays

written by Vince Hempsall

On Friday, November 1st, 2012, Vince Hempsall (Kootenay representative of CASBC) and David Lussier (founding member of The Association of West Kootenay Rock Climbers) began the process of upgrading the anchors of 15 routes at Kinnaird Bluffs in Castlegar.
The project was the brain-child of TAWKROC’s board of directors and was made possible thanks to the generosity of the Climbers Access Society of BC and Mountain Equipment Co-op.
Kinnaird, arguably the oldest climbing area in the Kootenays, has climbs that were put up over 40 years ago and the anchors on a number of them are made from rusted chains, tattered webbing and 2 1/4″ non-stainless steel bolts. TAWKROC submitted a proposal to CASBC to get funding to replace the anchors and, through a mutual program with Mountain Equipment Co-op, was given the hardware to do so.
On that Friday, Vince and Dave put new anchors on five climbs including Merlin, Mossy Corner, LOU, Sunshine Crack, and Betal. The latter climb had rusted anchors that were 32 metres off the deck and was the sight of numerous injuries and one unfortunate fatality in the early 1990s. The new anchors are now at the 30-metre mark.
“We’re making each of these climbs safer,” says Vince, “but we’re also making sure we maintain the aesthetics and flow of all the climbs that we worked on. For example, we lowered the anchors on Sunshine and Betal but the last few metres of both those climbs was just low-grade scramble through poor rock. I think climbers will notice the quality and safety has improved significantly.”
Dave and Vince will continue updating the anchors on various routes around Kinnaird over the course of the next month. For photos from the day, see the gallery below.

December 2012


Future of Fixed Anchors

written by Peter Winter

From the Access Fund:
The Future of Fixed Anchors
Currently, there is no recognized consensus among the American climbing community concerning best practices for placing and replacing bolts. Thus, land managers often make arbitrary decisions concerning bolts that significantly affect climbing access at new and renowned climbing areas across the country. For decades, climbing pioneers developed routes largely in a vacuum under the radar without restriction using a variety of bolting methods and technologies adapted from the construction industry.

Bolting has generated controversy since sport climbing began in the U.S. Initially, the “bolt wars” consisted primarily of in-fighting between climbers over style and requisite level of risk. Today, land managers are more aware of climbing activities and increasingly use their legal authority to regulate how climbing areas are used, developed, and maintained. However, most land managers are not climbers and lack the personal experience with climbing or route development to make knowledgeable decisions regarding climbing management, especially best bolting practices.

Since the late 1980’s, bolting bans, restrictions, and fines have been on the rise. Formal climbing management plans and associated bolting standards are fast becoming the norm. Clearly, developing a sport route has impacts which are only magnified if the route becomes popular. Given the fact that sport climbing is here to stay and is only increasing in popularity, the regulation of bolting hardware and techniques is a central policy issue confronting land managers and climbers alike. The Access Fund’s recent Future of Fixed Anchors Conference called on some of the most prolific and knowledgeable first ascentionists and re-bolters to start discussing best practices. The goal of the conference was to discuss how best to maximize safety and sustainability while minimizing the environmental impact of bolts.

Over the weekend of November 16-18, approximately 80 route developers, advocates, and industry representatives met in Vegas to discuss bolting best practices. Saturday was filled with presentations and panel discussions covering a range of topics including: european bolting standards; federal policies relating to fixed anchors; how to organize and fund re-bolting initiatives; metallurgy 101; and hardware specifications, and bolt placement/removal techniques. Sunday was the demo day where attendees got the chance to view and share different methods of placing and removing bolts. Although this was just the beginning of the conversation, a few important lessons were gleaned from the Conference.

The “Golden Era” of bolting totally under the radar is at an end.
Mixing metals (i.e. stainless with non-stainless or aluminum) causes galvanic corrosion and should be avoided.
Stainless steel lasts longer and is generally preferable in all but the most arid climates. The downside to stainless is the cost and possibility of over-torqueing which can compromise strength. The Europeans have accepted stainless steel as the standard whereas the US does not yet have such a consensus.
In solid rock, modern properly-placed 3/8” mechanical bolts are typically sufficient. In medium density rock, modern properly-placed 1/2" mechanical bolts are typically sufficient. In soft rock, glue-ins are typically the best option, but longer mechanical bolts can be effective.
Maintaining bolts is an expensive, thankless job that requires organization, funding and knowledgeable volunteers.
Developing positive relationships with land mangers is the single most important way to protect climbing access.
The Future of Fixed Anchors Conference was a huge success, but more work still needs to be done. The group’s consensus was that another conference is needed to further the discussion and the Access Fund is already planning the next one. We are building a stand-alone website that will be crowd-sourced by climbers and industry representatives to share bolting information and instructional videos. The Access Fund would like to thank the Conference’s sponsors (Liberty Mountain, Petzl, Black Diamond, ClimbTech, and New Belgium Brewery) and attendees who at their own expense traveled from across the country to participate in this important effort.

Annual General Meeting

written by Peter Winter

Below is the Agenda for our Annual General Meeting taking place in Squamish, on December 16th at 6:30pm. Due to space availability and time constraints we have to have it in Squamish again as opposed to Vancouver, our apologies.
Also, at the AGM we will be electing new members to the Board of Directors. THESE POSITIONS ARE OPEN TO ANY MEMBER and we need new recruits. If you are interested and need more information before the meeting, send an email to info@access-society.ca.
There will be a bit of food and drink and some great prizes, so please attend!
If you are planning on attending, please let us know so we can have an idea on the numbers.



Sea to Sky Hotel
40330 Tantalus Way
Garabaldi Highlands
Squamish, BC


a) Frimer, Brown, Scull resignations
a) 2011 AGM
a) Membership update
b) TAWKROC Partnership Agreement
c) Marketing-Guidebook, Gripped, Banners, Vimff
d) Corporate Support
e) Volunteering
f) Paid help
a) Okanagan
b) Kootenays
c) Vancouver/Squamish/Whistler
d) Vancouver Island/Sunshine Coast
9. ELECTION OF Board of Directors
11 maximum, no more than 50% from GVRD
Seeking re-election/election: Peter Winter, Jeff Kydd, Eric Goodwin, John Brodie, Adam Connor, Richard Martin, Paul Cordy, Vince Hempsall, Rolf Rybak

October 2012


Garibaldi Park Management Plan Amendment Open House Sessions

written by Peter Winter

Garibaldi Park Management Plan Amendment Open House Sessions
The open house dates for the BC Parks Garibaldi Park Management Plan Amendment have changed:

Whistler - Tuesday, November 20, Whistler Conference Centre, Garibaldi A Room, 4:00 PM–7:00 PM
Vancouver - Monday, November 26, Robson Square - Room C–150, 4:00 PM–7:00 PM

© 2016 Climbers' Access Society of British Columbia