Access Society Update For January

Information from the Access Society.
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Access Society Update For January

Post by meingh » Sat Mar 04, 2006 7:50 pm



We are sorry to report the recent deaths of two members of our community, and extend our sympathies to their families and friends.

Aidan Oloman (1976 – 2006)
Aidan died in an avalanche near Fernie on January 14th. She is survived by partner Sean Easton, parents Mab and Colin, and sister Rowan. Aidan was a very active and much-loved member of the Squamish and Canmore climbing communities, an outstanding climber, and a guide. There will be a celebration of her life in Vancouver, in late February or early March. The Aidan Oloman Fund has been set up in her memory at the Vancouver Foundation, to help empower women to gain physical and personal strength through outdoor pursuits. Information about Aidan, the memorial, and how to make a donation, will in due course be at or re: donations see

Enid Harris (1921 – 2006)
Mrs. Harris died on January 12th, pre-deceased by husband John in 2005. They had a major role in early editions of “103 Hikes in Southwest B.C.”. The book evolved from a trail guide published by the Mountain Access Committee in the 1960s, and has introduced many to the mountains of B.C. There will be a memorial on February 4th.

An important part of the work of the Access Society is advocacy, including:

- Ensuring that public access to the cliffs and mountains of B.C., and conservation of them, are a priority.
- Responding to issues as they arise, and anticipating them when possible.
- Working with and supporting local climber organizations.
- Educating climbers, the public, the news media, governments and others.

Current issues include Skaha (long term access and management), Stawamus Chief (stewardship agreement, film policy), Horne Lake, Sea-to-Sky Highway Improvement Project (final plans, implementation), Smoke Bluffs (management plan), Cougar Canyon, mid-Island crags, and Powell River. See the website for more. Are there issues we should be working on, but aren’t, or issues we could do more on or help with?

We plan to maintain if not expand our Adopt-a-Crag program in 2006. There will likely be events in Nanaimo, Campbell River, Stawamus Chief, Fleming Beach, Skaha, Cougar Canyon, the Smoke Bluffs, Conroy Creek (Cheak), and elsewhere. If you want to organize an Adopt-a-Crag in your area, please let us know. We'll help with planning, publicity, draw prizes, funding, and other resources. If you can provide support – funding, draw prizes, materials, promotion – please also contact us.

Planned 2006 projects include:
Conroy Creek (Cheak) – toilet, notice board, parking, status as recreation area, possibly camping.
Stawamus Chief boulders – toilet, restoration work.
Squamish climbers festival.
Crest Crags - helping our friends in the Heathens instal a new toilet.
Is there a project in your area that would help protect access, or look after the area, and which has solid community support? What can we help you with? Ideas welcome!
The Access Society has some funds set aside for work in specific areas:

$1,731 - In memory of Brent Matheson, for Squamish area projects.
$215 - In memory of D'Arcy McRae, for Golden/Spillimacheen area projects.
$2,700 - From Mountain Equipment Co-op (North Vancouver), for Smoke Bluffs projects. (Projects have been identified, subject to MEC approval.)
$1,500 - From Alpine Club of Canada (Vancouver), for pending Conroy/ Cheakamus projects. $1,000 further has been committed by ACC - national.

There are several events over the next few months where the Access Society will be present, talking about activities and plans, and promoting membership. They include:

1 - The Edge Climbing Centre: Late January, TBA.
2 - Best of B.C.: ANZA Club, Thursday February 9th. A show by B.C.’s best climbers and mountaineers, on their recent adventures, organized by Scott Close. Tickets at the Edge Climbing Centre and at Cliffhanger, details at
3 - Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival: February 17th – 25th (

The AGM was in Vancouver. It was preceded by a directors meeting. 22 members were present, and the meeting was chaired by vice-president Mandoline Masse-Clark. We covered the usual business – minutes, area reports, directors’ report, financial statements, elections, and plans for 2006. There was also an excellent talk by Robert Nugent on climbing in Spain, and draw prizes from Arc’Teryx, Mountain Equipment Co-op, Fitness World, Metolius Mountain Products, Clif Bar, and On Sight Equipment.

The AGM passed a special resolution to update the bylaws. After ten years it was time. The new bylaws, and AGM minutes, will be posted to the website.

The new directors are Rolf Rybak and Luisa Giles. We still have one vacancy, and hope to recruit someone from the Squamish area. Outgoing directors Peter Winter, Pam Bourdon, and Sheilagh Seaton were thanked for their efforts. The new board has already had one meeting. Rolf Rybak is the new president, Mandoline Masse-Clark continues as vice-president, and Lisa Rae continues as secretary. Treasurer TBA. Three in-person meetings are planned for 2006, plus telephone meetings. One project is to review the goals, structure, and organization of the Access Society, and the roles and responsibilities of the directors.
The 2006 AGM will probably be in Skaha/Penticton, on Thanksgiving weekend.

The Access Society held about ten volunteer crag stewardship events in 2005:
-Nanaimo (March 19th): five volunteers worked on trails at the Sunny Side.
-Stawamus Chief – Grand Wall Boulders (April 23rd): 22 volunteers worked on the trails in and around the boulders – removing deadfall, putting in gravel in soft areas, re-routing. B.C. Parks staff removed shrubs along the old highway (“Psyche Ledge”), so that it is vehicle accessible in an emergency. And some clean up.
-Skaha (April 27th & May 19th): 27 volunteers did annual toilet maintenance, and rebuilt the badly eroded trail below Peach Buttress.
-Eldred River, Powell River (May 7th & 8th): 21 volunteers worked to improve trail access to Psyche Slab and “SRI”. The campsite was cleaned up, hazard trees removed, and a new woodshed and food cache were built.
-Smoke Bluffs (June 5th): 35 volunteers from the Edge Junior Climbing Team painted the outhouses, clipped a lot of shrubs, and picked up some garbage, before the downpour started. 10-15 adults tagged along and helped.
-Cougar Canyon, Vernon (May/June): 8-10 volunteers installed an outhouse and a notice board, and did other needed work.
-Stawamus Chief (June 24th): Over 60 volunteers worked on the trails in the Grand Wall boulders.
-Smoke Bluffs (September 10th): 31 volunteers (our 'official' Adopt-a-Crag).

The total was nearly 400 volunteer days, including organizing, and we haven’t had full reports from some areas. An Adopt-a-Crag is a great way to demonstrate responsibility for the cliffs and mountains we cherish. Trail work, building and maintaining toilets, cleanup, and other necessary projects. And they’re fun.

MEC's Environment Fund gave us a grant to cover expenses for organizing these events, which should extend through our 2006 program. Thanks also to MEC, Metolius Mountain Products, On Sight Equipment and other sponsors for draw prizes.

Adopt-a-Crag is an initiative of the Access Fund, sponsored by Recreational Equipment Co-op, W. L. Gore, and Clif Bar. In 2005 it involved nearly 120 volunteer stewardship events at cliffs and mountains around the United States, and one in Canada. The name "Adopt-a-Crag" refers to events that are part of this program in September each year; by courtesy of the Access Fund, we use the name for ‘non-official’ volunteer events.


Three movies were filmed at Stawamus Chief Provincial Park during 2005, all at least in part in the Grand Wall boulders. The first was in the spring, the second in August. The last was a large project in November, which the Access Society publicized in an e-newsletter on November 7th. We noted concerns with increasing use of the area for filming, the potential for conflicts with existing user groups, and possible environmental impacts. There was a negative response to this from a few.
Climbers visiting the boulders in mid-November were appalled by the apparent impacts of the film, although clean up and restoration work had just begun. There were many e-mails and calls, and some media attention. After a tour of the area, an agreement was reached for full restoration, which has largely taken place. Thanks to Jack Fieldhouse, D’Arcy Bloom, Tyrone Brett, Jim Sandford, Kevin McLane and others for their work.

B.C. Parks has begun a review of its policy for filming in the park, and the Access Society will be participating. We have raised the issue of “location fatigue” with both the film company and the B.C. Film Commission – there may be other locations in the Squamish area that have similar attributes for filming, but are less likely to conflict with other values and users.

The master plan for the park discourages filming from Victoria Day – Labour Day. However, this can be overridden by provincial government policies. The park does not gain directly from movies and other commercial permits, although sometimes in-kind contributions can be obtained. The Access Society may soon enter into a stewardship agreement with B.C. Parks, which would provide for advance consultation.

The Squamish climbing community and the Access Society have put substantial effort into looking after the Grand Wall boulders, a cherished place. Climbers have had some impacts on the area, but do their best to minimize and mitigate them. It is ironic that our volunteer work may make the area more attractive to film crews.

Cheakamus Canyon (The Gorge)
The Ministry of Transportation did considerable work rehabilitating the Gorge (Cheakamus Canyon) during 2005, in the area of Galaxy Buttress (StarChek), Gotham City, and the Leaning Tower of Pizza. (The area was affected by construction of the Culliton-Cheakamus section in 2004.) Some slope stabilization was done, a new trail built, and anchors checked. Some work remains, but it appears that the area is now safe to climb at. There is still loose rock, and climbers are urged to be alert, and to wear helmets! (There have also been reports of tourists trundling rocks in the area.) Thanks to MoT for its work on this restoration.

New Papoose Trail
As part of preliminary work for the highway project, the Access Society agreed with MoT and B.C. Parks to re-route the Papoose access trail. The new trail leaves the Shannon Falls access road just before (south) of the bridge across Shannon Creek. A new descent route, along the north shoulder of the Papoose, was also created - it involves scrambling. Thanks to MoT for project funding, and to B.C. Parks (Chris Gooliaff) for help with the route. The old trail has been blocked.

Conroy Creek - Cheak
The Ministry of Forests (Squamish) did some helpful work at Conroy Creek in autumn 2005. They graded the road, and made some small improvements, including ditches. This should help keep it driveable. A new parking area below the existing one was built, a culvert/pipe was placed, and they may donate an outhouse. The Ministry has also suggested that a recreation area be established, including the key cliffs, parking and trails, and perhaps a small campsite and noticeboard. We hope to meet them on-site in the near future, to delineate the area and plan further work. There’ll probably be a volunteer day in the spring, to do necessary work. Grants from the Alpine Club of Canada – Vancouver Section Endowment Fund and National Environment Fund will help

Sea-to-Sky Highway Improvement Project
Highway closure information is at, or 1-877-472-3399.

Meetings of the Recreation Focus Group continue, although the focus is shifting to implementation. The Access Society has stressed the importance of user groups being directly involved, to ensure clear communications. The Ministry of Transportation has agreed to the minimum necessary work in the Murrin Park section, rather than blasting to accommodate the eventual full four lanes. It appears that the only cliff in the area that will be directly affected is Browning Bluff. Discussions continue on the alignment of the highway at the Stawamus Chief, and what sort of intersection will provided there.

The Land Conservancy of B.C. - Squamish Activities
The Land Conservancy of B.C. (“TLC”) has purchased the gravel pit between Stawamus Chief and Shannon Falls Provincial Parks. The property was to have been the base for the Stawamus Chief tourist gondola. The purchase, from the Behrner family, became final in autumn 2005.

The property was the only private land on the east side of the highway in the area, and there was a high risk of inappropriate development. The gravel pit will eventually be integrated with Stawamus Chief Provincial Park, but for the next few years will be leased back for use as a staging area for the highway project.

TLC is discussing the future of the upper Malamute with its owner. The Access Society thanks TLC for its work, and Mountain Equipment Co-op for the impetus and for seed funding. We have donated $2,000 to TLC to support its work.

TLC ( and has acquired or protected nearly 40,000 hectares of important lands around B.C. New members and donations are welcome, to support TLC’s efforts to protect B.C.’s natural and cultural heritage. Tax-deductible donations can be sent to 5655 Sperling Avenue, Burnaby, B.C. V5E 2T2.

Smoke Bluffs Management

The Smoke Bluffs Planning Team is about to finalize a park development plan. It would include creation of a new Smoke Bluffs Park Commission, appointed by the District of Squamish to manage the area, and including many climbers.


1. Lions Bay Search & Rescue Fundraiser
When: Wednesday January 25th, 6:30 PM.
Where: Mosquito Creek Bar & Grill (2601 Westview, North Vancouver).
Cost: $20 per person, including a beer and a burger.
What: Katy Holm will tell stories and show pictures of some big wall climbs, and there’ll be silent and live auctions, with a lot of good prizes. All proceeds to help pay for a new rescue vehicle.

2. Mount Arrowsmith
A coalition of recreation and conservation groups is working on protection of a larger proportion of Mt. Arrowsmith, on Vancouver Island near Nanaimo. Some is already in a regional park. See for more.

3. Climbing for Cancer Cure
Ravil Chamgoulov climbed Vinson Massif in Antarctic in late December, and now has Kilimanjaro, Carstenz Pyramid, and Chomolungma to go in his quest to become the first person to solo the highest mountain on each continent. He is doing so to raise money for cancer research and care in B.C. - see

4. Federal Election - January 23rd, 2006
Canada will have an election on Monday. The Access Society encourages everyone to vote - better still, to become informed about the candidates, issues, and parties and then vote.

5. Howson Range
These mountains, near Smithers, were recently the scene of conflicts between snowmobilers and a backcountry ski lodge. The Burnie/Shea area had been designated non-motorized by community consensus of the Morice Land and Resource Management Plan, but a small group of snowmobilers ignored the decision. (Only 1.36% of the area was designated non-motorized.) This had a significant impact on guests at Burnie Glacier Chalet. The area is managed by the Nadina District of the Ministry of Forests, which has now closed the area to snowmobilers.

6. CCH Alien Recall
Colorado Custom Hardware (CCH) has recalled some of its Alien camming units, due to concerns about brazing. The suspect units were manufactured after November 2004, and are apparently marked with a small centre punch dimple at the base of the round ball where the axle goes through the cable eye. See the CCH website for exact details.

7. Pakistan Earthquake
The earthquake in the mountains of northern Pakistan and Kashmir was devastating. Donations and aid are still needed. For more information, see the Alpine Club of Pakistan website at

8. Safe Trip Website
Safe Trip Canada offers adventurers the ability of filing a trip plan, to make it easier for rescuers to find them in case of emergency. The service is free - see Trip plans are apparently monitored continuously, rescuers are only notified in case of an emergency, and reports are first verified. The Access Society has no further knowledge, but the site may be worth a look.

9. Thank Yous - Donations (since June 2005)
Joie Seagram & Dave Jones, Rolf Rybak, Mountain Equipment Co-op (Roc Trip), Metolius Mountain Products, Blurr (Jason Kehl show), John Brodie, Neil Bennett & Bennett Surveys, Greg Diamond, Corina Acheson, Jim Sinclair, Graham Rowbotham, Doug Woods, Megan Rowlatt, Eamonn Deegan, Don McPherson, John Young, John Grant, Marcus Dell, Alanna Theoret, LeRoy Russ, The Heathens, Dean Williams, Cliffhanger Coquitlam, Susan Olsten, Kevin Swanson, Peter Norris, Bob Koen, David Woodsworth. (Tax receipts will shortly be mailed for all 2005 donations.)
10. Thank Yous - Volunteers

Far too many to list here, but including all the Adopt-a-Crag volunteers and organizers, the local climber organizations all around B.C. that the Access Society works with, our directors and officers, those who represent us in various issues, and so on. You know who you are - we couldn’t do it without you.

11. New Brochure and Display

The Access Society has an attractive new brochure and point-of-purchase display. We’d like to have them in every climbing store and gym in B.C., and recently sent the display, brochures, and instructions to many gyms, stores, and clubs. If you have a good home for brochures or displays, please contact us, and we’ll send some along. The display fits well on counters, or can be pegged to a wall.

12. Website

We’re nearly ready for on-line memberships, donations and renewals – Dan Mack has created a new database, a compatible on-line form, and we now have a PayPal account. Once the final bugs are worked out, we’ll be live. All you’ll have to do is complete the form, hop to PayPal, pay (credit cards only), hop back, hit “submit”, and you’re done. We’re still wrestling with electronic renewal notices, though.

Brock Wilson has done a great deal to update the website, including incorporating the new graphics, re-organizing it, and a lot of new content. We’re going to try to update the home page, and the key sub-pages, every two months, and other pages as needed. Contributions and feedback welcome!


The Access Society was founded in April 1995. We've had some successes, but face many challenges in our pursuit of public access to B.C.'s cliffs and mountains, and conservation of them. Please support the Access Society in any way you can - become a member, make a donation, or volunteer! We believe the Access Society is doing an important job. It represents all those who cherish B.C.’s cliffs and mountains. See, under “Get Involved”, for more.

We hope this message is useful, and encourage you to share, post and forward it. Our apologies if it is unwanted! If so, please let us know and we'll remove you from our list. If your e-mail has changed, please let us know. (In a few cases this message is a duplicate, due to overlapping directories.) Also, we welcome information and contributions - please send to info(at)

Climbing and related activities are dangerous, and can injure or kill you. The Access Society tries to ensure that this information is accurate, but you rely on it at your own risk!

copyright (c) Climbers' Access Society of British Columbia, 2006.

Box 72013 - Sasamat R.P.O.
Vancouver, B.C.
Canada V6R 4P2
(604) 228-1798;[/u]

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