Of the many great outdoor activities for which Richmond is known, climbing may not top the list. However, if you look closely, you will find a community of dedicated climbers of various styles making the most of Richmond’s diverse and unique outdoor and indoor climbing spaces. Whether bouldering along the Buttermilk Trail, lead climbing and top roping at the Manchester Wall, or “pulling plastic” at Peak Experiences Rock climbing gym, people of various ages and experience levels have discovered that Richmond has a lot to offer.
The Manchester Wall is probably RVA’s most popular climbing location. Credit: onthevergeoftears.wordpress.com
The city also serves as a springboard for larger adventures, whether 100 or 1,000 miles away. Each week, “traditional” and “sport” climbers head out to Old Rag, Seneca Rocks, or the New River Gorge to rock climb; alpinists seek ice climbing adventures in the Shenandoah; or further north each winter, and seasoned mountaineers plan trips to the great mountain ranges in hopes of summiting some of the world’s most majestic peaks.
Among individuals within each of these different climbing styles, I have repeatedly heard a consistent message: “The Richmond climbing scene is on the cusp!” While this means different things to different people, it certainly forecasts an increase in the number of people utilizing Richmond’s climbing resources and increased demand and impact on the local climbing areas.
As an outdoor community, how will we best respond to the increased interest and participation in climbing? My personal answer and decision is to support and organize the local community of climbers who are members of the American Alpine Club.
At a national level, the American Alpine Club exists because “together we’re stronger.” The RVA Chapter of the AAC seeks to realize this vision at a local level. For me, this primarily means three things:
- Develop community: strengthen and build meaningful relationships between climbers, the broader outdoor community, and the City of Richmond.
- Enhance competency: teach and encourage best practices to promote safe climbing
- Promote stewardship: work locally to maintain and enhance the areas we use
To realize these objectives, the RVA Chapter of the AAC has begun to host social events to further develop community, and climbing clinics to promote proper technical skills and risk management. Going forward, we are planning a number of additional socials and events, organizing climbing trips, volunteering to support the areas we love, and partnering with businesses, other organizations, and the City.
The American Alpine Club exists to support our shared passion for climbing and respect for the places we climb. Towards that end, we’re excited to engage with the Richmond outdoors community!
If you’re interested in learning more or joining the American Alpine Club, please visit the AAC website or contact Rick.