America’s Access Fund and the Washington Climbers Coalition (WCC) have purchased a section of Lower Lump and Inner Walls areas in Index, Washington. This is a big step forward for conserving access to climbing in the area.
In a press release from the Access Fund, they said the acquisition includes 20 acres of forest and more than 30 independent routes, including the classic Toxic Shock 5.9, a nearly 30-meter crack and one of the most popular trad climbs in Washington state. Also acquired was the Field of Dreams area, which features more than a dozen fully bolted sport climbs.
“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 (Sharp End Publishing, 2017). “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.”
The press release goes on to say that 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 organisations 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 organisation, working to protect and conserve the land, fight for sustainable climbing access, and build a community of inspired advocates.
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 here.