MAC and Access Fund Conservation Team come to Sugarloaf Mountain

Hot off the heels of a hugely successful Rockfest, MAC volunteers were back at it; this time at Sugarloaf Mountain in Dickerson, Maryland.

Green Trail Erosion 2014 - Before

For many who have climbed or hiked there, it’s pretty obvious that the Green Trail leading to the summit is in desperate need of some love.  Sections have eroded so badly that the “U”-shaped dip in the trail just traps water, resulting in further erosion. And the trail is growing wider as people try to step around the problem spots.  We decided to start working to change this.

Despite a rainy afternoon forecast, more than a dozen local climbers came together to tackle a problem area on the Green Trail.  In one day, volunteers installed a massive water bar, a check dam, and five stone steps on a steep sections of the trail.  Volunteers also helped to brush-in and camouflage the sides of the trail and a large social-trail/short cut, this will help confine human impact to the trail and prevent further erosion.

We were fortunate to have the expert guidance of Mike and Amanda from the Access Fund’s Conservation Team. These two trail gurus are on the road the entire year, helping climbers care for their crags all across the country.  You can see and read more about their past projects and find out where they’ll be next by following them on Facebook.

Water bar - Sugarloaf 2014

A big thanks to the land owner Stronghold Inc, our volunteers, the Access Fund’s Conservation Team, and our generous sponsors, including REI for the free shirts!

Group shot - Sugarloaf Spring 2014

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Adopt-a-Crag

Rockfest 2014 Recap: Thanks to all of our volunteers!

Gathering volunteers at the Trout Pond at Coopers Rock

If you were at Rockfest 2014 at Coopers Rock at the end of April, chances are you had a great time doing trail work, camping out, eating good food, drinking good beer and sending some sandstone.

This was our largest Rockfest with more than 80 people in attendance, which is pretty awesome. Big thank you to everyone who came out for the event.

Here’s a rundown of the trail work that we accomplished:

-Laid gravel and installed a fence by the Trout Pond

-Scrubbed and washed chalk off the Picnic Table boulder

-Constructed dip drains and made improvements Henry Clay Furnace trail

-Removed graffiti in Upper Rock City

-Habitat restoration at Roof Rocks

-Painted a gazebo and gates throughout the park

-Cleaned up the picnic area to get the area ready for the spring picnic season

-Cleared brush from the Trout Pond dam spillway

Despite a little rain on Friday night, volunteers woke up early Saturday morning to get a free breakfast with snacks from KIND and sign up for projects. Teams worked through the morning on all of the projects and broke for lunch courtesy of Pies and Pints.

After lunch, many volunteers went bouldering and returned for dinner from Black Bear Burritos. Mountain State Brewery and Chestnut Brew Works also provided beer for us. Some volunteers continued working on various projects before dinner.

After dinner, we gave away over 30 prizes from our raffle, including a pack from REI, a crash pad from Asana and harness from Misty Mountain.

And what may have been the most fun part of the evening was laughing together to Almost Alpine, a mockumentary film about climbers putting up a new epic traverse in West Virginia.

Sunday volunteers were treated to a delicious breakfast from Solid Rock Climber for Christ. After packing up, volunteers either went off to climb or took part in one of the three clinics thanks to Evolv Coach Taylor Reed, Leave No Trace and the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club.

Thanks Earth Treks Climbing Centers and the  American Alpine Club for supporting this event.

And finally, a huge thanks to all the wonderful volunteers, and a special thanks to the Coopers Rock Foundation for providing guidance and leadership.

Be sure to check out photos from the event on Facebook, courtesy of our fantastic volunteer photographers.

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Adopt-a-Crag, climbing

Want to Remove Graffiti? MAC Needs Your Help

If you have climbed anywhere in the Mid Atlantic, chances are you’ve seen graffiti at the rock. In urban climbing areas around Washington and Baltimore, graffiti is a common source of damage to rocks.

In the last year alone, Mid Atlantic Climbers has helped remove graffiti at the following locations: Rocks State Park, Ilchester at Patapsco State Park, Carderock, Northwest Branch and Sugarloaf. With the work of volunteers at Adopt-a-Crags, MAC has made significant progress in removing graffiti from these locations.

The volunteer efforts have also been strongly supported by park rangers and land managers, who often don’t have enough volunteers to do work like this.

Park rangers at most locations have provide Taginator, a bio-degradable chemical that has proven to be quite effective at removing graffiti from rock. Volunteers were briefed on safety protocols at the start of our events. They used gloves, mask and protective eye wear while working.

Despite those efforts, there is still more graffiti to be removed, especially at areas like Northwest Branch where entire boulder problems have been covered over.

MAC is looking for volunteers to form a graffiti removal task force specifically at Northwest Branch. If you are willing to volunteer a few hours a month to work on it, email Training and all materials will be provided.


Posted in Uncategorized

MAC Volunteers Donate more than 1,000 Hours of Service to Climbing Community in 2013

This fall, Mid Atlantic Climbers took a bold step towards making a broader impact at area crags by planning a record five events for the season. In addition to hosting more events than typical, MAC is also thrilled to announce that with our volunteers help, we have surpassed a record of 1,000 volunteer hours this year. Mid Atlantic Climbers Volunteers Tamping

Each event hosted record numbers of volunteers and were made possible through the commitment and service demonstrated by MAC volunteers, whether they were new volunteers or veterans.

Adopt a Crags are the Access Fund’s signature stewardship program designed to unite climbing communities and land managers with the goal of conserving local climbing areas. MAC has hosted Adopt a Crags in the area for more than 10 years, and each event has not only given volunteers the opportunity to give back to the land but also built strong and sustainable relationships between climbers and land managers.

At each event, the list of projects were varied, but the completion of each one resulted in reduced human impact and an opportunity to give back to the places where climbers recreate. From making trail improvements to laying mulch to removing graffiti, MAC volunteers have worked tirelessly to complete every project and contributed valuable time and effort towards keeping our crags beautiful.

AEdwin Removing Grafittind besides working hard at events, MAC volunteers have helped represent the face of the climbing community in the Washington, D.C. area. At every trail cleanup, park officials always remark at how conscientious, skilled, and responsible MAC volunteers are. We often hear that the kinds of projects we accomplish at our Adopt a Crags never would have been possible without the hard work and commitment of our fantastic volunteers.

It is because of your hard work and your efforts to care for local crags that we continue to have good relationships with land managers. Thanks again for all your hard work this fall! We’re looking forward to one more event at Sugarloaf and are already planning for the 2014 season.

If you have suggestions for future events or would like to help plan an Adopt a Crag, email


Posted in Uncategorized

Mid-Season Update: Great Turnout at Fall Events

Volunteers at Great Falls

This fall, Mid Atlantic Climbers planned a record five adopt-a-crags. After three events, we’ve had a record number of volunteers out.

The season’s third event was held this past weekend at Great Falls National Park in Virginia. This was MAC’s 11th event at the park and, despite the federal government being shut down until the Thursday prior, we were still able to hold the event.

Volunteers at Great Falls

On Saturday, a total of 22 volunteers spent a Saturday morning closing a social trail in the northern section of the park. Social trails are trails that are not established or maintained by the park system. Usually those who visit the park create them as a shortcut between trails or they are created by a large volume of foot traffic. Especially in parks like Great Falls, social trails can damage native plant species and cause unnecessary environmental impact. The trail MAC volunteers closed was used as a shortcut between two trails that were roughly 300 feet apart.

After finishing up the trail work, volunteers enjoyed a cookout sponsored by Solid Rock Climbers for Christ. Many volunteers also received prizes in the raffle. Some also stayed for a workshop on Leave No Trace principles.

Photos of the event can be seen on our Facebook page.

We have two more events this fall, including Northwest Branch on November 9 and Sugarloaf on November 30. To register for either event, go here.

Thanks to all of our volunteers who have come out so far this season! We hope to see you at our last two events of the year.

Posted in Adopt-a-Crag, climbing, Uncategorized