posted by dpm on 11/10/2012
The Southeastern Climbers Coalition (SCC) is pleased to announce that it is under contract to acquire the Hospital Boulders in northeastern Alabama. The Access Fund is providing a bridge loan of $75,000 from the Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign (AFLCC) to finance the acquisition. The SCC is now asking the climbing community to show their support and help fundraise $80,000 to complete the purchase.
Climbing access has historically been “low profile” at Hospital Boulders, with limited access and details distributed only by word of mouth. The SCC was outbid at an auction to purchase the boulder field five years ago with negotiations for access ongoing ever since. The current landowner, a private developer, recently put the property up for sale again, with plans to auction it to the highest bidder. “The threat of losing the area to another private landowner or developer was very real,” says Josh Reyes, SCC board member. “We did not want to be sent back to square one with access negotiations, facing the very real possibility of having access permanently revoked.”
“We had to move fast to get the land under contract before it went to auction,” says Access Fund southeast regional director Zachary Lesch-Huie. “Our close working relationship with the SCC was key to getting the AFLCC funds released quickly to save this bouldering area."
The Hospital Boulders. Photo: Access Fund
Just north of Gadsden and less than 30 minutes from Horse Pens 40, the Hospital Boulders boasts 150-200 high quality sandstone boulder problems, and even some short traditional, sport and top rope climbs on the west brow of Lookout Mountain. The area, with its spectacular scenic views, still has potential for many more first ascents.
The SCC and the Access Fund are working together to finalize the purchase of this local bouldering area from the private developer. The sale is expected to close in mid-November, placing Hospital Boulders in climber-friendly hands forever. The SCC will own and manage the property in perpetuity.
The Hospital Boulders acquisition marks the twelfth successful AFLCC project since the inception of the revolving loan program in 2009. It will make the seventh successful acquisition by the Southeastern Climbers Coalition.
The 39-acre tract sits conveniently off I-59, just past Mountain View Hospital at the end of Scenic Highway in Gadsden, AL. Access is optimal with an SCC-owned road that leads to a parking area less than a minute from the boulder field. There are additional boulders located just outside the SCC property, and the SCC will be working with the landowner of this adjacent property to open up the entire boulder field in the future.
Please visit www.seclimbers.org to donate now and learn more about access.
If you'd like to have a little fun while still donating to the cause, the Crash Pad is throwing a fundraiser on November 29th from 6 to 9 PM. The Crash Pad is a climber-friendly "uncommon hostel" located in the heart of downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee. Their event, dubbed "Buy Your Own Boulderfield," includes dinner, a movie, silent auction, pull-up and slackline competitions and more. It should be a good time for a good cause so come on out.