Chugach State Park Proposes Anchor Ban

Proposed Anchor Ban

Chugach State Park Proposes Anchor Ban

Fixed anchor on the North Face of Pioneer.

Attention Climbers: The May 2011 Draft Chugach State Park Draft Management Plan has recommended “permanent rock anchors” be prohibited in Chugach State Park (CSP).

If the proposed ban is not stopped then all technical climbing within CSP will essentially be banned. Permanent anchors are an integral part of climbing and are used by climbers to safely protect portions of climbs that would otherwise require a high degree of risk. Given the poor rock quality and lack of natural protection in Chugach rock, permanent anchors are a necessity for climbers’ safety. Likewise permanent rappel anchors are needed on any technical mountaineering, ice, or rock route that lacks a walk off descent.

It is also likely that the ban would prohibit replacement of existing fixed anchors, thwarting efforts to upgrade old bolts and other fixed gear (some of which have been in place for over 60 years) and prohibit any new route development that requires fixed anchors (bolts, fixed pitons, slings left behind, fixed nuts, etc.).

Currently all of the rock and ice climbing areas along Turnagain Arm from Anchorage to Girdwood lie within CSP boundaries and many of these climbs utilize permanent rock anchors – either for protection or for top-rope / rappel anchors. Other affected areas include Ptarmigan, The Wedge, O’Malley, Yukla, Dew Mound, Eklutna Canyon, Pioneer Peak, Hunter Creek, and any other CSP technical mountaineering route that requires a rappel.

This Proposal Must Be Challenged. The 10 minutes you take to make a comment is essential to the future of climbing in Chugach State Park.


Suggested Comments:

  • Technical climbing is a customary and traditional use of Chugach State Park and many technical routes require permanent rock anchors.
  • A permanent anchor ban in Chugach State Park would effectively end technical rock and ice climbing and mountaineering within the park – an activity that hundreds of people enjoy year round.
  • Permanent rock anchors have been in use within Chugach State Park since the early 1950s.
  • Permanent rock anchors are a necessity in Chugach State Park due to poor rock quality.
  • Banning permanent rock anchors would make many routes dangerous and increase the likelihood of accidents due to inadequate protection.
  • Permanent rock anchors are not just used to aid in climbing a route. For example, in some areas bolts have been placed in rock to reduce the impacts of climbers using vegetation for anchors and rappel stations.
  • Permanent rock anchors need to be replaced or improved occasionally.
  • New routes may require some permanent anchors.
  • Permanent anchors are NOT illegal under the Wilderness Act.
  • Permanent anchors are essentially invisible except to climbers actually climbing a route.

Comments Due by October 31, 2011

Send Comments to:

Monica Alvarez
[email protected]
Alaska Department of Natural Resources
Chugach State Park Planning
550 West 7th Ave., Suite 1050
Anchorage, AK 99501
Tel: (907) 269-8145
Fax: (907) 269-8915

To learn more about the plan visit:

Note: This flier was put together in response to a single line inserted in the 145 page May 2011 Draft Chugach State Park Draft Management Plan. The line in question is on page 51 where Public Uses are listed for Chugach State Park. After listing uses such as land based motorized vehicles, other power-driven mobility devices, snowmobiles, weapons, trapping, recreational gold panning and geo-caching as “Compatible” the plan lists rock climbing but adds the following line: Compatible, except the use of any permanent rock anchors is prohibited.

There is a lot going on in the Draft Management Plan – but the above line is left in the plan then it gives park managers the right to implement restrictions on climbers. It is unlikely that park managers will start doing things like pulling rap stations off Polar Bear and it is unlikely that they’ll want to remove anchors from established routes like Ripple or Crack in the Woods. However – management plans are only revisited every 2-3 decades so unless the line is removed there is potential for future restrictions on anchors and bolts.

So write your letter and go enjoy the rock one last day before the snow gets here.

Update 10/19/11: The Access Fun has put togehter a nice easy-to-use letter-writing tool. Click here to use it to contact park officials.