Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thanks MAC!

Tis the season to be thankful, and before I go pack to fly out to Vegas in the morning for some sunny Red Rocks routes and a few fun days on the Strip, I wanted to take a moment to thank the Mid Atlantic Climbers for all the incredible work they've done this year.  As our local Access Fund affiliate, they mobilize a strong group of volunteers year after year to tackle a variety of projects throughout the region, but this year has been an especially great one for them.

Probably the biggest MAC accomplishment was their success, alongside the Access Fund, in working with the National Park Service to lift Catoctin Mountain Park's longstanding bouldering ban.  While there's certainly more than enough other rock along that ridge to keep any of us busy for a lifetime, the density of steep bouldering in the park is a huge addition to the diversity of Maryland bouldering.  I've only made it out there once since access was restored, but I'm sure I'll be spending plenty more time there now that temps are dropping!

                                                         Boss Hog                  Photo: John Brunson
MAC volunteers have also been in contact with park staff at Harpers Ferry about raptor closures and other access issues, as well as conducting their usual variety of Adopt-a-Crag events.  Last weekend, their annual cleanup event at Northwest Branch was an even bigger deal than usual, conducted as part of Access Fund and Black Diamond's joint ROCK Project Tour.  Together with the Access Fund's traveling conservation team, and several world class Black Diamond athletes, MAC volunteers put in an incredible morning of work cleaning graffiti and trash, maintaining trails, removing invasive species, and moving tons of rock to build a better landing area under Crimptastic.

MAC has also been running a great series of guest posts from local climbers about their favorite climbing spots around the area, including two (here and here) from the legendary John Kelbel about Patapsco State Park, and this one from my good friend John Brunson about some of the gems of the Sykesville area, including video of Sykesville strongman Will Anglin knocking out hard projects during his recent trip home.  Check them out, and stay tuned for more to come.

The official Mid Atlantic Climber project schedule is done for the year, but they're always looking for more good people to help out with future ones, especially those who are willing to do some of the behind the scenes work.  If you have talents that you think they could use, they'd love to hear from you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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