ACCESS PAN AMERICA TO BE FIRST EVER HEMISPHERIC-WIDE ACCESS MEETING

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Valle Cochamo, Chile. Photo Jose Ignacio Morales/Escalando

Valle Cochamo, Chile. Photo Jose Ignacio Morales/Escalando

SQUAMISH, BRITISH COLUMBIA, AUGUST 12-16, 2009

Access Pan America (accesspanamerica.com) will bring together activists from all the Americas to create the only organization dedicated exclusively to protecting climber access in the Western Hemisphere. The meetings are open, all climbers are welcome and urged to participate.

The critical organizational meeting is sponsored by the Petzl Foundation and hosted by the Squamish Mountain Festival, presented by ARC'TERYX. The Petzl Foundation is providing the critical support for travel scholarships for Latin America activists. Individuals and organizations that want to attend and may require a travel scholarship are invited to apply directly on the Forum Discussions. Travel scholarships are limited to $1,000.

Access Pan America/Petzl expects to include a critical mass of climbing activists for a Western Hemisphere network. That should include participants from Central America, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, and United States.

For more information see accessfund.org and accesspanamerica.com

John Bachar soloing at El Diente, a threatened area near Guadalajara, Mexico. Photo by Luis Medina.

John Bachar soloing at El Diente, a threatened area near Guadalajara, Mexico. Photo by Luis Medina.

ABOUT ACCESS PAN AMERICAAccess Pan America is the name we are using to bring together climbing activists from all the Western Hemisphere. Right now, we are a network of climbers, climbing organizations and federations, outdoor clubs, and corporate supporters. We are all volunteers, no paid staff, and our mission is to create grassroots climbers access and conservation organizations for the Western Hemisphere.Access Pan America may not be name of the organization that emerges from the first organizational meeting at the Squamish Mountain Festival, presented by ARC'TERYX. The name was chosen to indicate that our range is all the Americas, South, North, and Central America. And it also seemed to work in the principal languages of the Western Hemisphere, English (Access Pan America), Spanish (Acesso Pan América), Portuguese (Accès PanAmériques), and French (Accès PanAmériques). Our first organizational meeting at Squamish is primarily sponsored by the Petzl Foundations, and so, we refer to the meeting as Access Pan America/Petzl.The initial organizers were sensitive — perhaps overly sensitive — to concerns that this effort would be viewed as a move of the established climbers organizations or federations, such as the Access Fund, Access Societies, or the alpine clubs. Pan America is an independent movement, and not part of existing access, conservation, or climbing organizations. Individuals from the Access Fund, American Alpine Club, and Access Society are assisting and participating, but we have not requested that these organizations sponsor, endorse, or fund our initial effort. The organizers also believed that our first meeting should be outside of the U.S. These choices may have been unnecessary and a mistake. The Access Fund will be the fiscal agent (without charge).The principal organizer of Access Pan America is Armando Menocal, who is usually credited as the Founder of the Access Fund, starting it in 1990 and running the Access Fund through its first years. Obviously, no one person does that alone, and many others were equally, and critically, responsible. Today the Access Fund is the passion of another generation of climbers.Armando Menocal says that Access Pan America came about because,"For years I've been hearing from climbers all over Latin America, asking for help on their access problems. I kept saying that someday we'd have to respond. I finally realized that we could delay no longer, and that the first step should be a forum to bring together as many activists as we could, and go from there."Access Pan America started with an organizing committee that included

  • Kika Bradford and Peter Haunk, two of the organizers of the newly formed Brazilian Programa Acesso as Montanhas.

  • Alex Catlin, principal developer of Potero Chico for the last 20 years.

  • Rolando Garibotti, living and climbing in the U.S. and Argentina.

  • Juan Laguna, editor of Kóoch in Argentina.

  • Jose Ignacio Morales, editor of Escalando in Chile.

  • Anders Ourom, founder and longtime director of the Climbers' Access Society of British Columbia.

  • Brady Robinson and Jason Keith of the U.S. Access Fund.

We are now joined by more participants from Colombia, Panama, Honduras, Mexico, Venezuela, and Peru. Our ranks are open. To participate in the meeting, to discuss the access problems in your area, to apply for a travel scholarship, or to comment on Access Pan America, please do so on our Forum Discussions.