In March 2009, the private property owner at the Lower Town Wall put up “no trespassing” signs below one of Washington’s most beloved crags. Climbers rallied, and in 18 short months we raised over $300,000.00 for the purchase of the Wall and an endowment fund for maintenance and improvement. The wall is secure. Read about it in Seattle Times…
Abe Tavern flying off Batskins.
The Lower Town Wall:
Climbers have been challenging themselves at the Lower Town Wall for 50 years. Several years ago the British climbing magazine Mountain declared it one of the top 10 crags in North America and it remains a vibrant hub for local and visiting climbers. The climbing is diverse in both difficulty and style and there is truly something for every rock climber at the Lower Town Wall and its satellite cliffs. This is the only year round granite climbing in the State.
It was a frightening event when the “no trespassing” signs appeared at the Lower Town Wall. Who could imagine having this gem taken from us? Climbers rallied, and we organized a fundraising campaign supported by the Access Fund, the American Alpine Club, The Mountaineers, and other climbing groups, as well as gyms and climbing equipment suppliers.
The Index Fund:
The Washington Climbers Coalition purchased the area on August 23, 2010, and the September 19, 2010, event at Index recognized this incredible milestone for Washington climbing. Over 400 individual donors, 15 businesses, and four or five local climbing clubs supported the eighteen month fundraising effort. Read more about the donors here… 15o people showed up for the celebration at the Outdoor Adventure Center in Index. The event was attended by climbers who were among those who first explored the cliffs and crags around Index in the 1960’s as well as those who climb there several times a week today. The mayor of Index was there. The author of the first Index guidebook, Fred Beckey, was there. Jeff Smoot, author of Washington Rock Climbing, and Darryl Cramer, author of the 2000 guidebook, were there. Beginners and experts attended, oldtimers and many new to the sport. Index rocks and we celebrated this giant leap forward for public access and open space preservation at a place so dear to our hearts.
Carl Dietrich on City Park ca. 1984. Photo by Larry Kemp.
A Climbing Park:
The incorporation of this area into the surrounding Forks of the Sky State Park will help ensure that it can remain a climbing area forever. In return for this donation, Washington State Parks is agreeing to manage the property for climbing as the primary intended purpose, and they are agreeing to management practices there and at other Index area crags that will ensure safe and sustainable climbing access.