Access Fund


Boulder, CO

Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2018):

Revenue: $3,344,909
Expenses: $2,894,812
Assets: $3,205,387





Environmental Advocacy

Executive Director:

Chris Winter

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Access Fund is a left-leaning environmentalist group that advocates for free rock-climbing spaces and works to increase ethnic minority involvement in the rock-climbing community. Access Fund was founded in 1991 to protest U.S. National Park Service restrictions on using rock climbing bolts on cliffs. Since then, the group has expanded its scope to include the purchasing and conserving land to ensure free climbing access. 1

Access Fund is sponsored by National Geographic, Riverview, and the Conservation Alliance, as well as tobacco company Winston Salem Foundation. This group partners with automobile maker Jeep/Chrysler LLC, Google, and Clif Bar. 2 Access Fund has supported the Black Lives Matter movement. 3



A large part of Access Fund’s advocacy work is connected to addressing a perceived lack of diversity in the rock-climbing community. It has developed the Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion (JEDI) program. Lamenting the fact that before 2018 its staff had never contained more than one person of color at a time, Access Fund boasts that it has increased that number to 20 percent. As part of its JEDI protocol, Access Fund states that it changed the language of its job descriptions to use more “inclusive language,” and that it tracks the work of other climbing organizations to check for diversity initiatives. Access Fund also requires its grantees to reflect these principles. 4

After its acquisition of climbing rights in Inks Ranch in Texas, Access Fund put out a call for seasoned climbers to plan public routes in the new territory. However, the response was deemed unsatisfactory because the route planners “did not reflect the diversity of the climbing community in Texas.” Access Fund then announced a program to pair minority rock climbers hosted with experienced climbers, who developed the routes together. 5

Access Fund has also signed the Outdoor Industry CEO diversity pledge, which commits to minority representation in leadership hiring and marketing practices. It is also a financial supporter of the PGM One summit and Color the Crag Festival, both of which encourage minority participation in rock climbing. 6

Route Name Controversy

Access Fund spoke out in September 2020 during a controversy that arose when it was discovered that the Mountain Project trail guide home page contained names that Access Fund alleged were offensive. In some cases the names were considered insensitive to Native Americans, for example the “Trail of Tears” or “Squaw in Heat” routes. in other cases, the offense was much more subtle, with one featured climber stating that naming crags in Hawaii after Kanaka Maoli gods without using the proper ritual protocol, and then climbing those rocks, constituted a double offense. The Mountain Project later redacted many of those trail names. 7


Conservation Corps

Access Fund proposes the creation of a new “Conservation Corps” that would mirror the Civilian Conservation Corps of the New Deal and create landscaping and maintenance jobs in wilderness areas. Access Fund envisions a new, inclusive Corps where Black, LGBT, and Native American citizens would experience a sense of agency and participation, while simultaneously working through the National Park Service’s $11 billion backlog of deferred maintenance. 8

Moab, Utah Auction Protest

In the spring of 2020, Access Fund was able to stop the auction and sale of more than 85,000 acres of land in Moab, Utah by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The land, which was originally slated to be sold and developed for gas and oil leasing, contained several popular climbing spots. Access Fund organized a protest of nearly 5,000 climbers to secure the halt of the sale. Following this, Access Fund called for Congress to restrict the Bureau’s ability to lease or sale land for resource extraction. 9

Great American Outdoors Act

Access Fund was a supporter of the Great American Outdoors Act, a bipartisan bill signed into law by President Donald Trump (R) which allocated over 2.8 billion in national park upkeep and provided permanent funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Despite President Trump’s willingness to sign this act into law, Access Fund went on to criticize his administration for undermining the National Environmental Policy Act by limiting the amount of public review necessary before the issuing of construction and development permits. 10 11


Rob Price, president of the board of directors of Access Fund, is the co-founder and principal software director of Outdoor Geeks LLC. He is also a board member and treasurer of the Jacques Pepin Foundation. 12

Chris Winter, executive director of Access Fund, is a former environmental advocacy lawyer and co-founder and co-director of the environmental litigation firm Crag Law Center. 13


  1. Access Fund. “Our History.” Access Fund. Undated. Accessed November 15, 2021.
  2. Access Fund. “2020 Climbing Advocacy Report.” Access Fund. Undated. Accessed November 15,2021.
  3.  Access Fund. “To Our Community.” Access Fund. June 3, 2020. Accessed November 15, 2021.
  4. Access Fund. “Our JEDI Journey.” Access Fund. Undated. Accessed November 15, 2021.
  5. Access Fund. “2020 Climbing Advocacy Report.” Access Fund. Undated. Accessed November 15, 2021.
  6. “Color the Crag.” Sending in Color. Accessed November 15, 2021.
  7. “Why Route Names Matter.” Access Fund. September 10, 2020. Accessed November 15,2021.,Lor%20Sabourin%E2%80%99s%20Story.%203%20Irene%20Yee%E2%80%99s%20Story.%20
  8. “A Bold Plan: Can Climbers Help Save the Economy?” Access Fund. June 10, 2020. Accessed November 15, 2021.
  9. “Breaking: BLM Cancels Plan to Auction 85,000 Acres Around Moab Amid Pressure from Climbers.” Access Fund. August 11, 2020. Accessed November 15, 2021.
  10. “Victory: Outdoor Climbers Help Pass Great American Outdoors Act.” Access Fund. July 21, 2020. Accessed November 15, 2021.
  11. Friedman, Lisa. “Trump Weakens Major Conservation Law to Speed Construction Permits.” New York Times. July 15, 2020. Accessed November 15, 2021.
  12. “Rob Price.” Linkedin. Accessed November 15, 2021.
  13. “Chris Winter.” Linkedin. Accessed November 15, 2021.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: July 1, 1996

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2018 Dec Form 990 $3,344,909 $2,894,812 $3,205,387 $284,777 N $2,963,144 $344,186 $28,156 $141,846 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $3,148,577 $2,707,760 $2,959,821 $452,390 N $2,385,396 $395,804 $13,999 $114,245 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $2,258,131 $2,251,984 $2,140,093 $99,149 N $1,828,908 $135,686 $16,895 $91,208
    2015 Dec Form 990 $1,919,305 $1,901,263 $2,119,274 $151,570 N $1,614,413 $105,603 $10,915 $95,362 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $1,694,375 $1,576,789 $2,103,836 $154,174 N $1,467,486 $108,605 $29,688 $104,174 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $1,592,520 $1,370,608 $1,976,467 $156,044 N $1,427,693 $0 $27,544 $90,342 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $1,414,699 $1,268,034 $1,743,144 $144,633 N $1,313,738 $0 $34,744 $85,244 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $1,394,412 $1,073,822 $1,562,767 $138,324 N $1,299,872 $0 $5,835 $81,389 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Access Fund

    P.O Box 17010
    Boulder, CO