SMCC has the following short and long term projects in place to assist with the development of our mission.
- CUSTER GALLATIN NATIONAL FOREST PLANNING
- CLIMBER ACCESS TRAIL DEVELOPMENT AND MAINTENANCE
- PUBLIC LAND ACCESS EASEMENTS AND MOUs
- HARDWARE REPLACEMENT PROGRAM
- MEMBER OF OUTDOOR ALLIANCE MONTANA
CUSTER GALLATIN NATIONAL FOREST PLANNING
The Custer Gallatin National Forest is currently drafting a plan to guide forest management for the next 20-30 years. At stake are things like recreation access, infrastructure development and maintenance (including trails), permitting for guides, outfitters and educational groups, new scenarios for stewardship and forest partnerships, and land conservation. SMCC is working on the forest plan revision with our Outdoor Alliance Montana partners and together we’re advocating for a forest plan that balances and protects outdoor recreation, wild places, and wildlife. As climbers, we are particularly interested in maintaining winter access to Hyalite Canyon, designating Hyalite and Gallatin Canyons as “recreation emphasis areas”, and continued opportunities to work with the Forest Service on stewardship projects and to address site-specific climbing management issues. In addition, we support the Gallatin Forest Partnership Agreement, which protects the Gallatin Range and preserves the spirit of adventure that climbers find in Hyalite Canyon even as use continues to increase. To learn more about the forest plan revision, and to submit a comment, join us at MAP Brewing on May 23 from 5-8pm, or visit the Custer Gallatin Forest Plan Revision website. Also co-hosted by Winter Wildlands Alliance.
CLIMBER ACCESS TRAIL DEVELOPMENT AND MAINTENANCE
SMCC organizes volunteer trail days throughout the year, in cooperation with National Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management agencies. We maintain a database of these trail systems for use by the agencies. If you would like to organize a trail maintenance day, please contact us!
The following trail days are planned for the summer of 2020:
- June 24 – Gallatin Tower trail maintenance
- Meet at the Tower parking pullout at 6pm, we will work until dusk. SMCC will supply tools, please bring your own gloves.
- July 22 – Practice Rock trail maintenance
- Meet at the Practice Rock parking area at 6pm, we will work until dusk. SMCC will supply tools, please bring your own gloves
- August 26 – Bozeman Pass trail maintenance
- Meet at the Bozeman Pass parking area at 6pm, we will work until dusk. SMCC will supply tools, please bring your own gloves.
- September 23 – Scorched Earth trail maintenance
- Meet at the Scorched Earth parking area at 6pm, we will work until dusk. SMCC will supply tools, please bring your own gloves.
- Mill Creek trail maintenance day, TBD
- Please contact SMCC if you would like to help organize this event
- Allenspur trail maintenance and trash pickup day, TBD
- Please contact SMCC if you would like to help organize this event
PUBLIC LAND ACCESS EASEMENTS AND MOUs
ALLENSPUR CRAG ACCESS EASEMENT 05/17/2019: SMCC maintains a easement that allows access across privately owned property to the Allenspur crag south of Livingston. The easement exists in perpetuity so long as SMCC exists.
FROG ROCK ACCESS TRAIL MOU (Memorandum of Understanding): SMCC maintains an MOU with the Custer Gallatin National Forest specifying our custodial obligation to maintain the condition of the trail.
HARDWARE REPLACEMENT PROGRAM
The mission of SMCC is to secure, protect, and maintain climbing resources. To achieve such objectives, this all-volunteer organization encourages responsible stewardship for those that use the land, trails, and rock in southwest Montana. On the behalf of all climbers, SMCC volunteers negotiate with landowners, work with government land managers, and build and improve climbing trails. These efforts are part of SMCC’s primary focus to ensure that climbers maintain the reputation as responsible, self-maintaining users of public and private land. Toward that end, SMCC is launching a new program in 2019 to replace potentially dangerous, permanent hardware on established climbing routes.
To initiate the program, SMCC received a grant from the Access Fund’s Anchor Replacement Fund. SMCC has also received donations of hardware from local climbers. At first, only the oldest, most worn and corroded bolts will be targeted. In the future, with additional donations of funds, hardware, and volunteer-hours, the program will expand and address hardware replacement on a larger scale.
The SMCC is you, acting as a member of an organized coalition of responsible climbers. Through the donations of funds, hardware, and labor we all help to secure the future of climbing in southwest Montana. Begin now by reporting an unsafe anchor or volunteering your time to help replace one. Also, if you see an unsafe anchor and have the means and necessary experience to fix it, then fix it!
The SMCC policy is to maintain the original style in which a route was established. First ascensionists will be given the opportunity to decide whether or not their route should be altered. The SMCC also does not promote the addition of hardware (i.e., lead bolts) to existing climbs that would alter bolt spacing or replace the need to place gear (e.g., nuts, cams, etc.).
The SMCC will not provide funds or hardware for new route development. However, SMCC does recommend that new route development use only climbing industry accepted stainless steel bolts and anchors in order to extend their usable lifespan and prevent premature replacement efforts in the future. The SMCC also recommends that new route developers follow a set of guidelines (see list below).
Through its Hardware Replacement Program, the SMCC’s aim is to provide resources and training opportunities that will assist in mitigating potentially dangerous hardware on established routes. The SMCC does not undertake or assume a responsibility to insure that any fixed hardware is strong, properly placed or safe. It is each climber’s responsibility to evaluate routes and make all decisions incident to climbing them, to climb safely, and to inspect and make individual decisions regarding the safety and reliability of fixed anchors.
Begin now, by using this link to report an unsafe anchor or volunteering your time to help replace one: https://forms.gle/JxEcqvRG7DWYSCRf8
BEST PRACTICES GUIDELINES FOR ROUTE DEVELOPMENT IN southwest Montana
- Do consider the physical impact (e.g., trails, trash, human waste, etc. ) of new route development
- Do consider the visual impact (e.g., shiny bolts, chains, colored slings, etc. ) of new route development
- Do consider the consider the overall safety and longevity of hardware that you place
- Do consult local route developers to learn best practices
- Do consult land managers to learn of development procedures
- Do NOT add bolts to existing routes
- Do NOT add bolts where natural protection (e.g. cams or nuts) is adequate
- Do NOT develop routes in historically, culturally or ecologically sensitive areas
- Do NOT chip or glue holds
- Do NOT over-develop crags or develop routes on top of existing routes
MEMBER OF OUTDOOR ALLIANCE MONTANA
Southwest Montana Climbers Coalition is a founding member of Outdoor Alliance Montana (OAMT) – a statewide partnership that serves as a platform for member organizations to coordinate their efforts to protect public lands, waters and snowscapes, and to ensure these places can be experienced in a meaningful and sustainable manner. It is a statewide chapter of the national organization Outdoor Alliance, which unites climbers, paddlers, skiers, surfers, mountain bikers, and hikers to protect public lands. OAMT connects local knowledge, sensibilities and priorities with national perspectives and expertise and enhances all of the member organizations’ policy, advocacy and organizational capacities. This connection empowers the human powered outdoor recreation community both regionally and nationally and enables its members to pursue common goals more effectively. When the outdoor recreation community speaks with one voice, people, especially policymakers, listen. Our collective voice increases the leverage our community can apply to federal and state level decisions affecting public lands and recreation.