Access Fund and Mid Atlantic Climbers Work with NPS to Open Climbing at Catoctin Mountain Park

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Thurmont, MD. June 22, 2016. As the nation celebrates the 100th anniversary of our National Park Service, Mid Atlantic Climbers and Access Fund applaud Catoctin Mountain Park for restoring bouldering access, allowing the mid-Atlantic climbing community a chance to discover one of the national parks in their own backyard.

“In 2014, Mid Atlantic Climbers contacted me to help resolve one of the most important climbing issues in the region,” says Access Fund policy director Erik Murdock. “They said they wanted bouldering access at Catoctin Mountain Park, and we set out to develop common sense solutions that would work for the park.”

Credit Kyle Adams Photography.
Credit Kyle Adams Photography.

Located approximately an hour from both the Washington, DC and Baltimore metro regions, Catoctin Mountain Park is the perfect place for the diverse community of urban climbers to escape from the city and enjoy our public lands. Catoctin Mountain Park is home to high quality bouldering opportunities at a variety of difficulty levels.

Access Fund and Mid Atlantic Climbers established a collaborative relationship with park staff and helped them consider the benefits of expanded climbing and bouldering opportunities. The advocacy work not only resulted in climbing access, but laid the groundwork for long-term collaboration. An amended Superintendent’s Compendium now allows bouldering (climbing without a rope on short rock outcrops and boulders) in all areas of the Park.

“Catoctin Mountain Park contains some of the most sought after bouldering and climbing opportunities in northern Maryland, and our members are excited to take advantage of this restored climbing access,” says Chris Irwin, President of Mid Atlantic Climbers. “They are also eager to participate in Adopt a Crag events this fall and in the future to help minimize climber impacts and otherwise assist the park.”

The park is also excited to welcome climbers. ”It’s gratifying to be able to make additional recreational opportunities available to visitors, thanks to the diligent work of park staff and the dedicated professionals at the Access Fund,” says Rick Slade, Superintendent at Catoctin Mountain Park. “We would like to welcome the climbing and bouldering community to experience everything the park has to offer during the Centennial celebration of the National Park Service. In that spirit, we encourage everyone to look for ways to get outdoors and Find Your Park.”

Mid Atlantic Climbers and Access Fund thank Superintendent Slade and Catoctin Mountain Park staff for their collaboration and look forward to a continued relationship that will involve stewardship projects and promotion of responsible climbing practices in the park. We also thank the local climbing community for its patience in respecting the existing closures and regulations, allowing for the conversation with park staff to reach a successful conclusion.

Access Details

The majority of bouldering at Catoctin Mountain Park is located within corridors of the Gateway Trail east of the Catoctin Mountain Park Headquarters and along the Hog Rock Trail west of the Visitor Center. The park is also home to opportunities for technical, roped climbing at Wolf Rock. Permits must be obtained from prior to engaging in technical roped climbing. No permits are necessary for bouldering.

About Access Fund

The Access Fund is a national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment. A 501(c)(3) non-profit and accredited land trust supporting and representing millions of climbers nationwide in all forms of climbing—rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, and bouldering—the Access Fund is the largest US climbing advocacy organization with over 13,000 members and 100 affiliates. The Access Fund provides climbing management expertise, stewardship, project specific funding, and educational outreach.

About Mid Atlantic Climbers

An Access Fund affiliate, Mid Atlantic Climbers (MAC) is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to preserving access to climbing areas in the Mid-Atlantic region, while promoting responsible climbing and environmental stewardship. MAC has over 700 members, volunteers, and supporters and serves as a liaison between the climbing community and land managers (park or private) for the climbing areas in our region. For over 10 years MAC has worked with federal land managers in the region to preserve climbing resources and the natural environment, including at Great Falls Park, Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park, Shenandoah National Park, and Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.