The AAA Walls Reopened!


June 25, 2015. Marquette, MI – The Upper Peninsula Climbers Coalition (UPCC) and the Access Fund are pleased to announce that the historic AAA Walls are reopened to recreational climbing.

The rock formations are in a remote area off County Road 510 outside of Big Bay. “The AAA Walls have a long history,” says UPCC President Phil Watts. “We discovered it as a potential climbing crag in 1979, and Bud Place and Hazel Blandford joined me in those early years of exploration.”

However, the area was closed in June of 2014 due to liability concerns. UPCC and Access Fund began working with the landowners—Longyear Realty Corporation, a Marquette-based company that owns the AAA Walls and surrounding timberlands—to allow limited public access.

The solution, was a collaborative recreational license agreement that will enable individuals to use the rock formations for recreational climbing. The license is valid through the end of 2015, and if successful, it will be renewed the following year.

The areas reopened include the main AAA Wall, first climbed in the late 1970s, and a smaller formation called Secret Crag. The area has a long history of public access—local 4-H groups and Northern Michigan University have led trips there, and numerous youth and school groups utilized this outdoor resource. “We thank all the concerned groups and their work to enable recreational climbing at the crag to resume,” says Phil Watts.

“Rock climbing is a precious resource here in the UP,” says UPCC Treasurer Bill Thompson, “so when it closed last year due to liability concerns, we knew we had to show Longyear that the local community was willing and able to help keep the AAA Walls open.”

“This has been a great partnership with Upper Peninsula Climbers Coalition, Longyear, and local community members,” says Access Fund Executive Director Brady Robinson. “We are excited to play a small role in re-opening the AAA Walls and could not have done it without local leaders and a community-oriented landowner like Longyear.”

We now need the help of climbers and outdoor enthusiasts in the Upper Peninsula and surrounding region to assist UPCC in raising $5,000 towards the annual costs of liability insurance, signage, stewardship, and management. Learn more and make a donation online at

Additional Information:

All those visiting the AAA Walls can help ensure continued access by complying with the following simple rules: No paid, professional guided climbing and camping at the crags; organized groups such as schools and nonprofits wishing to use the area for climbing will be required to process requests and provide insurance in advance through the UPCC.

About the Upper Peninsula Climbers Coalition

The Upper Peninsula Climbers Coalition is a Michigan non-profit organization that works with land owners, conservation groups, and climbers to ensure responsible usage and long-term access to precious climbing resources across the Upper Peninsula. Founded in 2012, UPCC has worked in

partnership with land managers and owners to steward areas such as Little Presque Isle, Palmer, and the

AAA Walls. For more information, visit

About the Access Fund

The Access Fund is the national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment. Founded in 1991, the Access Fund supports and represents millions of climbers nationwide in all forms of climbing: rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, and bouldering. Six core programs support the mission on national and local levels: climbing policy and advocacy, stewardship and conservation, local support and mobilization, land acquisition and protection, risk management and landowner support, and education. For more information, visit



Hidden Valley Reopened!

Abingdon, Virginia. October 3, 2014 - The Access Fund and Carolina Climbers Coalition (CCC) are thrilled to announce the acquisition of a large portion of the Hidden Valley climbing area (also known as ‘Abingdon’) in southwest Virginia. Hidden Valley features hundreds of more

Access Fund Transfers Unaweep Cliffs for Local Safeguarding

Grand Junction, CO. October 19, 2015 – Access Fund, the national advocacy group that keeps climbing areas open and conserved, and the Grand Junction-based Western Colorado Climbers’ Coalition (WCCC) are pleased to announce the transfer of three major cliffs in Unaweep Canyon from more

Mountain Hardwear Signs on as Supporting Sponsor of Access Fund - Jeep® Conservation Team

Boulder, CO. April 15, 2014 – The Access Fund, the national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment, is excited to announce that Mountain Hardwear has signed on as a supporting sponsor of the Access Fund’s traveling Conservation more

Solid Protection

Access Fund to Host Annual Event Celebration this May with Patagonia

April 16, 2015. Boulder, CO – Access Fund is thrilled to announce that it will be hosting an annual event celebration over the weekend of May 15-17, 2015, in partnership with Patagonia. The event, Solid Protection: Tools and Strategies for Protecting the Places We Love to Climb, more

Unaweep Cliffs Saved For Climbing

Grand Junction, Colorado. October 9, 2014 - Western Colorado Climbers’ Coalition (WCCC) and the Access Fund are pleased to announce the purchase of two major cliffs in Unaweep Canyon that secure permanent public access. Acquisition of the Television Wall and Lower Mothers more

Access Fund and American Alpine Club Announce First Round of Anchor Replacement Fund Grant Awards

October 14, 2015. Boulder, CO – The Access Fund and American Alpine Club are pleased to announce the first-ever grant round for the new Anchor Replacement Fund. During this round, we have awarded a total of $10,000 to seventeen anchor replacement projects across the country. The more

Access Fund Announces 2015 Sharp End Awards

Each year the Access Fund recognizes individuals, organizations, and businesses that go above and beyond to volunteer their time and efforts to protecting America's climbing. These recipients stand out in their commitment to the American climbing community, and the Access Fund is more

Mammut Partners with MetroRock Climbing Centers on First Retail Opening in North America

Williston, VT (January 13, 2016) – Mammut, the Swiss quality providers of alpine gear and apparel, are excited to announce plans for the opening of the brand’s first retail store in North America. Partnering with MetroRock Climbing Centers in their soon to be opening Brooklyn more

Petzl America Headquarters Receives LEED Platinum Certification

Salt Lake City, UT (January 14, 2014) — Petzl America, the North American headquarters of verticality equipment and hands-free lighting company Petzl, is extremely proud to receive the distinction of Platinum LEED certification for their new building. The Leadership in Energy and more