NPS Rangers, Mammut, and Climbing Magazine team up to make the Black Canyon of the Gunnison safer for climbers


This May, Rangers at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park upgraded the Tyrolean traverse that spans the Gunnison River between the North and the South Chasm View walls. This important Tyrolean allows access to the south side from the Cruise Gully and has been an integral part of many link-up ascents, and saved countless climbers from being stranded on the south side of the canyon -- a two - hour drive from the North Rim Campground, the traditional staging area for ascents in the Black. Identifying and executing this upgrade was a unique and hopefully groundbreaking process that involved the NPS, Climbing Magazine, and the climbing industry and community. Black Canyon of the Gunnison climbing Ranger Brent Mims describes the chain of events: “The concern with the Chasm Tyrolean was that the South Chasm Wall is seeing increased traffic and the Tyrolean, which was installed by unknown climbers, was in unsafe condition. These concerns were mentioned to Climbing Editor-in-Chief, Jeff Achey, who offered to use his connections within the climbing industry and community to assist with facilitating a solution.” Achey immediately contacted Jeff Cunningham, Marketing Director at Mammut, to solicit a spool of premium static line. Cunningham comments: “Mammut saw this as a great opportunity to benefit the climbing community and reinforce to the NPS that climbing companies are willing to work within their guidelines to keep climbers safe. The thanks here should really go to the Black Canyon Rangers for being progressive and understanding the safety needs of climbers.” Upon receipt of the static line at Climbing’s office, it was immediately dispatched to Mims. “Members of the climbing industry, coordinated by Jeff Achey, were extremely reliable when it came to acting on the offers they extended,” stated Mims. “I feel that this upgrade project is an excellent example of the climbing industry and community working with the NPS to address safety concerns in an efficient manner.”Achey notes “an important role of Climbing is connecting the various parties within our sport – the management of the Parks and land where we climb, the industry and the climbing community – in a productive and effective way that benefits everyone. What we were able to do recently in the Black is just another example of Climbing fulfilling this role.” In 2003 Climbing, with support from The North Face and Petzl, launched the Anchor Replacement Initiative (ARI) to address the nationwide problem of worn out and inappropriate fixed hardware at heavily used crags. Thus far the ARI program, which is entirely coordinated by Climbing, has set up and supplied premium stainless steel hardware to a network of 18 volunteers across the country. Thus far these volunteers have been able to upgrade nearly 100 routes and are in possession of enough hardware to address 250 more. The ARI continues to expand into new areas and will supply hardware to any qualified volunteers interested in making the fixed hardware in their area safer for the climbing community as a whole. The ARI is the only community service program in the sport that was initiated and coordinated by a national climbing publication and the only program of its type that directs industry support straight to the crags and people who use them.About CLIMBING MagazineCLIMBING Magazine is the world’s leading publication on climbing and mountaineering, setting the standard through content and design innovation while maintaining close ties to the rich tradition of the sport. Climbing encourages, supports, and engages in activities that preserve the climbing environment and educate the climbing community about conservation and safety. Climbing is the only publication in its category with circulation verified by the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC). For more information on CLIMBING Magazine, contact Scott Leonard at or visit our website, climbing.local