Access Fund and Washington Climbers Coalition (WCC) have purchased a critical swath of the Lower Lump and Inner Walls areas in Index, Washington, putting into place one of the last pieces of the climbing conservation puzzle in the area.
The acquisition encompasses 20 acres of beautiful forest and more than 30 independent routes, including Toxic Shock (5.9)—a nearly 30-meter long hand crack and one of the most popular trad climbs at Index, if not all of Washington state. Also acquired with this purchase is the Field of Dreams area, which features more than a dozen fully bolted sport climbs (including a few multi-pitch routes) with grades between 5.7 and 5.10+—a rarity for Index and an excellent resource for more novice western Washington climbers.
“It’s kind of wild to think that, for all these years, this chunk of land was actually not a part of Forks of the Sky State Park,” says Chris Kalman, WCC Comms Coordinator and the author of The Index Town Walls: A Guide to Washington’s Finest Crag. “This is one of the most popular climbing areas at Index. It’s hard to imagine the ramifications it would have had if this property fell into less climber-friendly hands.”
(Photo: Access Fund)
While Toxic Shock has been a well-frequented crag for the past several decades, the nearby Field of Dreams area was, until recently, a mostly forgotten collection of aid climbs established before Index became a popular climbing destination. That area—once called The Sentry Box—is now mostly a sport climbing crag. It’s a great resource for beginner climbers looking to test their mettle at the notoriously difficult Index Town Walls.
“This is really exciting, and represents the culmination of community efforts that have been ongoing at Index for 15 years,” says Matt Perkins. “This new purchase will place the core of this vital climbing area in public ownership in perpetuity.”
This is not the first time the WCC and Access Fund have joined forces to purchase and protect climbing at Index. In 2009, they teamed up to buy the Lower Town Wall—one of the premier granite crags in the United States—which sits next door to the newly acquired property.
“The WCC was one of the first local climbing organizations to receive a loan through our Climbing Conservation Loan Program for the purchase of the Lower Town Wall,” says Access Fund National Acquisitions Director Brian Tickle. “It’s great to see this acquisition of the Lower Lump magnify the impact Washington climbers have had at Index.”
Access Fund is the nation’s largest climbing advocacy organization, working to protect and conserve the land, fight for sustainable climbing access, and build a community of inspired advocates.
(Photo: Matty Van Biene.)
While initial funding has secured The Lower Lump Property, the WCC is now looking to local climbers and conservationists to help raise $100,000 over the next three years to pay off the conservation loans to complete the purchase. You can donate to the project at https://washingtonclimbers.org/index.php/lower-lump.
Related: “Five Reasons Not to Climb at Index’s Town Walls… Ever” by Chris Kalman
Our mission is to make Washington a better place to climb through advocacy, stewardship, and education. We are climbers who believe that climbers must work together and work cooperatively with land managers and other groups who have an interest in the places where we climb or we risk losing access to these places we cherish. We are an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We take care of the places where we climb and strive to keep climbing areas open. For more information, visit washingtonclimbers.org.
About Access Fund
Access Fund is the national advocacy organization that leads and inspires the climbing community toward sustainable access and conservation of the climbing environment. Access Fund represents more than 8 million climbers nationwide in its work to protect and conserve the land, fight for sustainable access, and build a community of inspired advocates. Access Fund is an accredited land trust that has helped purchase more than 90 climbing areas, protecting more than 13,000 routes and preventing 19,000 acres of climbing-rich lands from being sold, developed, or closed to climbing. For more information, visit accessfund.org.