Climb the Hill: AAC and AF go lobbying in DC!


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Trad climber
La Cochitaville
Topic Author's Original Post - May 13, 2018 - 01:21pm PT
Hey Team,

This past week a bunch of folks from the AAC, the Access Fund and several rad climbers (Sasha, Caldwell, Honnold, Quinn Brett, Margo etc.) got together in DC to talk with politicians about the power of climbing and the importance of public lands!

Check out the Alpinist story about your membership dollars at work!

Southwest Team representing NM, AZ and NV: Alex Honnold, Quinn Brett, ...
Southwest Team representing NM, AZ and NV: Alex Honnold, Quinn Brett, Libby Sauter, Mark Butler and Erik Murdock
Credit: velvet!

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
May 13, 2018 - 01:26pm PT
Yea! I can think of a couple of politicians I'd like to get out for a day trip to Carderock in order to hang them by their toes just long enough to give them a chance to rethink their environmental and commercialization politics. Could some of my money go towards a field trip like that (and I'd volunteer to help with the, I mean belaying).
another nickname

Social climber
Yazoo Ms
May 16, 2018 - 07:41am PT
The actual caption of photo indicates the delegation met with a "staff member " of a congressman, which isn't necessarily that impressive or effective.

One wonders whether they have "a clue" about what, if anything they would try to accomplish beyond a photo op.

Trad climber
La Cochitaville
Topic Author's Reply - May 16, 2018 - 05:22pm PT
In the case of the initial photo, yes. We met with a staffer that worked for the conservative Congresswoman on issues relating to Natural Resources. In others, we met with actual Representatives/Senators.

The why: It is important for climbers, as a growing demographic to engage in our democracy, speaking with advocates and adversaries alike when it comes to the use and misuse of public lands. By reminding congressmen/women about the size of our voter base and through sharing economic data on the impact of outdoor recreation and more specifically climbing with district by district specificity (plus case studies!), we can ensure that our representatives, whether we come to an agreement or not, are casting their votes from a more informed stance.

Climbers and outdoor enthusiasts are an incredibly powerful lobby. Did you know that according to the 2018 U.S Bureau of Economic Analysis, outdoor recreation (of which climbers are a growing contingent) represents 2% of the national GDP? And that the rate at which outdoor recreation's economic impact is growing stands at nearly double that of the economy as a whole (4.4% vs 2.3%)

Or that annual consumer spending on outdoor recreation is greater than that which we spend, as a nation, on pharmaceutical and gasoline/fuels combined?

Which such burgeoning financial weight, plus our mostly young and rapidly growing demographic, the political will of climbers will be listened too. But only if we speak up.

Or, we can do nothing beyond moaning on internet forums when our government doesn't uphold our values.

Senator Cortez Masto (D-NV) meeting with me, Honnold and the p...
Senator Cortez Masto (D-NV) meeting with me, Honnold and the policy director for the American Alpine Club.
Credit: velvet!

Social climber
Wilds of New Mexico
May 17, 2018 - 08:12am PT
Nice work! I work professionally on environmental issues and know how important it is to take part in the decision making process. Vocal stakeholder groups can be quite powerful.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
May 17, 2018 - 12:22pm PT
Great, a political thread with just 5 posts.

Guess its just not controversial enough.
Mr. Rogers

The Land of Make-Believe
May 17, 2018 - 01:59pm PT
Hey Velvet!

Serious, if obnoxious, question that has been bothering me for a while:

Has anyone ever told Honnold (and the other male climbers, like Tommy or Conrad) who participate in these meet and greets that they need to get a real suit, a real haircut, and a real pair of shoes? Whenever I see photos of some AAC or AF lobbying event in DC, the male climbers look like they just borrowed their dad's old suit and cut their hair, by headlamp, in a gas station bathroom.

The female climbers are, by and large, much better. If I had to guess why, I'd posit that vicious and unfair presentation standards are regrettably more familiar to their lived experience.

In the above photos, Honnold looks like he doesn't want to be taken seriously. His suit is actually kind of ok, but the rest of it is a disaster. He looks like a kid playing dress-up. Maybe that's fine, maybe he's just there as eye-candy, a curiosity to be ogled by the politicians and their staff, while the actual advocates go about the talky-talky work. But if he wants to be taken seriously, he should dress the part.

Based off of my in-depth review of Honnold's finances (that is, Cedar dunking on him being rich in "Safety Third"), he can afford one set of 'good' clothes. He'll be set for every wedding/funeral/Bar Mitzvah he will attend for the rest of his life. Plus he can be buried in it.

PS - About 20 years ago, you gave a slideshow and signed my chalkbag afterwards. Your NOLS mountaineering book was also one of the first instructional climbing texts I ever read. Thanks for that.
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
May 17, 2018 - 04:22pm PT
Thank you for enduring DC on our behalf. And living to tell the tale.

Great explorers get to visit and make friends in primitive cultures all around the world.

Your work is appreciated.
another nickname

Social climber
Yazoo Ms
May 17, 2018 - 05:41pm PT
"Like babes in the woods."

Moreover the audience for these photos etc. is the constituency of the aac/af, with the intent to claim credit for "lobbying" rather than any actual achievement, nor even apparently, plausible objective.

Lobbying is a $9 billion industry in Washington and actually achieves (for better or worse) quite a lot.

These people depicted were in reality merely acting as tourists, rather than lobbyists, and on their membership's dime.
Mighty Hiker

Outside the Asylum
May 18, 2018 - 02:17pm PT
Thanks! All part of our modern world. Although the notion of groups like climbers lobbying the politicians, civil serpents and bureaucrabs isnít new e.g. the Wilderness Act. Sadly, though, too many modern politicians respond only to money, and I gag at the notion of donating to PACs and such.
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