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Hickenlooper Amendment to Continue Use of Fixed Climbing Anchors Passes Committee

May 17, 2023

Fixed anchors strike balance between preservation and safe access

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper applauded the inclusion of his amendment in America’s Outdoor Recreation Act, to recognize continued use of fixed anchors for rock climbing in wilderness areas. Specifically, the amendment directs the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Forest Service to issue guidance on recreational climbing on federal land, including in wilderness areas. The goal is to make clear that fixed anchors should not be considered prohibited by default; they are a key tool in striking balance between preservation and safe access

Fixed anchors, such as bolts and pitons, are key pieces of safety equipment that rock climbers use for popular routes on public lands. Once affixed, the gear remains, drawing other climbers to the area and supporting the outdoor recreation and tourism industry. The amendment passed out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as an amendment to the America’s Outdoor Recreation Act and next heads to a vote in the full Senate.

“Outdoor recreation is enormously important to Colorado – for our communities, our economies, and our way of life,” said Hickenlooper during the vote. “Fixed anchors – meaning permanent bolts and spikes necessary for safe climbing routes – are critical and appropriate for rock climbing in wilderness areas, as they have been for decades.”

“We’re thrilled that Senator Hickenlooper’s proposal to protect wilderness climbing was accepted by the full Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee,”
said Access Fund Executive Director Chris Winter. “Climbers across the country answered our call to action and helped to make this happen. Now, let’s get this over the finish line and to the President’s desk.”

For full text of the amendment, click HERE. For full video of the hearing, click HERE.


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