The Climbing Club

Index trails work WCC
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Author:  Sarah Shimer [ Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:10 am ]
Post subject:  Index trails work WCC

The Washington Climbers Coalition is organizing a trail improvement project July 28th and 29th at Index Town Wall, and they need some bodies to help. There are a handful of projects planned, but the big news is the Access Fund is sending out a couple of hot shot stone masons to build stone steps around the climbing areas. Think ginormous boulders being lifted up on high lines and manipulated in stone age fashion. It’s gonna be pretty cool. Jeep is sponsoring this and funding the project. By August it will be a lot easier to get around at Index Town Wall, yea! A day of Give Back will help make that all possible.

If you'd like to help, contact Matt Perkins with the WCC by July 20th and indicate which day you can help. Psst... it's more fun with a few friends

Author:  Nathan Johnson [ Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Index trails work WCC

call me scrooge but is there really a problem getting around the index crags?
i dont see lots of erosion happening anywhere. with all the vegetation at index erosion doesn't seem likely to become a big issue.
i like the feel of index the way it is.

leave index alone it doesn't need to be like morning glory wall at smith rock.

if you want to do something worthwhile scrub some old routes, write trip reports showing how amazing they are and help to disperse people away from lower town wall. don't develop lower town wall even further with nice trails!

-a luddite

Author:  Valerie Wall [ Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Index trails work WCC

I agree Nate. I like that Index is a little wild, with its sandbagged ratings, occasional run-outs, and sometimes attention-getting approaches (think right-side GM). But perhaps making Index more user friendly is going to be essential for its survival. I don't know. I'm happy to spend a day scrubbing that 10a at private Idaho with you though. That could be our small part to improve the area while others are building trails.

Author:  Sarah Shimer [ Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Index trails work WCC

Don't shoot the messenger (that would be me). ;) I will not be available to go that weekend, but the opportunity is open if anyone does want to participate.

Author:  David Yount [ Tue Jul 24, 2012 5:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Index trails work WCC

Each day, Saturday and Sunday, there will be great work to do and food and kegs of beer provided to all participants. I think it might be more like a low key festival (later in the day) rather than your typical grim and dour work party.

Nathan, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Here's a more full storyline. Index is easily one of the most historic technical rock climbing crags in the entire state. Beyond it's deep lore, Index is also one of the state's top quality climbing crags. As well, of the many dozens and dozens of crags throughout the state, Index sits as one of the closest to the large population belt from Marysville, Everett, Lynnwood, Seattle, Redmond, Bellevue, Kent, Auburn, Tacoma.

We've enjoyed full access to this private property for a very long time, but recently it was up for sale. The Washington Climbers Coalition raised the money to purchase the property; otherwise, it might be closed to climbing, forever. The WCC will transfer the property to Washington State Parks for long term care, maintenance, stewardship, access, etc. But before the WCC gives it over to the State, we want to do some long overdue maintenance.

Right now it's our property, we can do what we need to do in order to preserve it. Once it's in the State's hands the WCC can't do any maintenance without first getting approval thru State Parks, and, in some cases the type of work we might need to do would not be permitted by State Parks.

The WCC is keeping the entire trailwork as natural as possible. We're not using chemical-laden pressure treated timbers. We're not using wire cages of rocks to make retaining walls. We're not pouring concrete.

What the WCC is doing is keeping the area as natural as possible, using local materials - like granite stones found nearby, to fortify trails that have been eroding over several decades and especially in the recent 6 years when climbing at Index has experienced a big uptick. Specific parts of several trails do need some work, or they will continue to erode and become less useful, perhaps slightly dangerous and certainly annoying. As well, with a crag seeing the number of visits per week that Index sees, it is simply wise to consider trails in terms of 6 first responders carrying a litter with an injured person on board.

The Access Fund has a Conservation Team. The Conservation Team - CT - has 2 men, Jeff and Dave, and these guys are solid climbers and trained professionals with trailwork. They work full time, driving across the US, visiting crags and working with the Local Climbing Organizations, helping to effect deeper structural trailwork. Jeff Young is driving the sponsored Jeep and pulling a trailer full of all manner of tools.

If you have further questions or any concerns, the best way to participate with the dialogue is to send an email to the Washington Climbers Coalition, get involved. We are always are looking for peeps with a little time to volunteer. And most effective for this project, show up Saturday or Sunday and ask what's up! :)

Many of the key players involved with the Index trailwork are Washington locals, older - in their 50's and 60's, been climbing at Index longer than most of us have been alive, been climbing all over the US and extensive climbing all over the world. Maybe you can find some trust that this resource is being managed by individuals that are knowledgeable, wise and love Index and strive to protect it and keep it pure.

David Yount
WCC Board Member ex-officio

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