Travis Herbert is the man. Access Fund Education Director. Michael Allen Photo.
Much like the topic would suggest, this was a much more demanding event - for all parties involved - than most. But I feel the results were worth it. Personally I took quite a bit away from the event - perhaps too much to write here, or more accurately too boring to write here. What I feel was most important though is this:
The conversation about where climbing is going, how we are impacting our public places, and what we can do to make a positive change ... this conversation is happening. Not in someone's basement after several beers too many, waxing nostalgic and making slurred proclamations... it's happening between powerful companies, strong non profits and influencers. This is a meaningful conversation and course of action and I think people should know, so that they can join in. The reality is that climbing is changing, the landscape in which we climb is changing, and we need to change with it.
Graffiti removal at Morrison Boulders with a huge group of people who care. Michael Allen Photo
The second 'most important' lesson for me from the weekend was in regards to mentorship - or perhaps the modern lack thereof. This type of relationship shaped my understanding of how to interact with wilderness and how to conduct yourself in the 'wild'. We have all made mistakes, no doubt, and hopefully learned from them. The benefit of having respectful mentorship is that those role models can help us learn from their mistakes. I've had - and still have - many mentors. Perhaps I'm impressionable but I really value this kind of relationship. My hope is that I can make a positive impression on a few people along the road - and when I make mistakes I can feel brave enough to share them.
Tommy sneaks in a hug with bro Dan Mirsky . Michael Allen Photo
Speaking of inspirational people... I did an interview with Fort Collins local Ben Scott that I just published on my Five Questions page. This is one of my favorite interviews I've done - perhaps because it hits on many of the points I have made above but also because Ben is a powerhouse first ascentionist with a fiery passion - nothing is more motivating than that. Have a read.