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First Month as Rocky Mountain Regional Coordinator: Jenn Flemming

Posted on: April 24th, 2012 by Abbey Smith

Utah Road Trip In mid-February I started my dream job as Rocky Mountain Regional Coordinator that made the amazing climbing areas of Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico and Southern Idaho my new office. There are five Regional Coordinators scattered around the country—it is our mission to be “in the field” to support climbing communities and organizations, and to increase the opportunity for climbers to interact with the Club on a local level. My first field trip was to the great state of Utah with my trusty and seasoned travel companion, Tahoe the husky mutt.

Our first stop was Moab. Friends of Indian Creek (FOIC), the local climbing organization, held its public board meeting to discuss upcoming projects, events and issues relevant to its objective of preserving the future of the world-class climbing at Indian Creek. I had coffee that morning with the prolific climber and FOIC President Sam Lightner Jr. and board member/Moab local/climber-extraordinaire Lisa Hathaway to get some background info on the organization. The FOIC board is diverse and incredibly active, made up of Moab locals, Salt Lake City-ers and even a few Colorado crossovers. The organization has a phenomenal working relationship with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and has coupled with them in the past few years on trail maintenance projects, as well as toilet installation in and around Indian Creek. The bottom line: FOIC gets things done. I was incredibly impressed with the organization and certainly would recommend it as a model for other LCO’s, both in terms of its organizational structure as well as the relationship it has established with land managers and climbers. That evening, the AAC provided beverages for the meeting at the Love Muffin Café. Approximately 30 people came to discuss the year’s successes and potential future projects and the meeting was capped by a wonderful slideshow by Moab climber/photographer Walt Richardson. I finished off my Moab trip enjoying Indian Creek’s splitter cracks, expansive desert vistas, and beautifully maintained Creek Pasture campground. 

Next up: Salt Lake City. Driving northwest from Moab, Tahoe-dog and I moved toward the sun as it set over the Uinta National Forest, and eventually, into the bright lights of SLC. The next day I united with the Director of the Salt Lake Climbers Alliance (SLCA), the fabulous Julia Geisler, to put on a fundraising event for their Joe’s Valley seasonal porta-potty campaign. The SLCA has a long history of community involvement—they are an active, self-sustaining, and well-known LCO. They even have a paid employee—likely one of the only local climbing organizations in the country to do so. In short, the climbing community in SLC is active, psyched and ready to invest in protecting and advancing its diverse climbing resources.

On Thursday, March 22 at Brewvies Cinema Pub, the AAC and SLCA presented The Zanskar Odyssey film, which features expedition-style bouldering in the Indian Himalayas with Abbey Smith, Jason Kehl, Pete Takeda, and Mick Follari. Over 50 people showed up to watch the film, get their picture taken in the SLCA’s porta-potty photo booth, drink Bohemian brews, and win a prize from the massive raffle provided by Marmot, Revolution, La Sportiva and Petzl. $850 was raised to install new porta-johns at Joe’s Valley this season.

For me, the opportunity to meet some of the fabulous characters that dedicate their free time to the Utah climbing communities was invaluable. I was truly impressed with the organizations that exist, and am beyond excited that my job entails working closely with them so that they can continue such important work for the future of our sport. I can certainly promise that I will be back [often] to Utah in the coming months!


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