Volunteers welcomed for Donner Summit restoration efforts | SierraSun.com

Volunteers welcomed for Donner Summit restoration efforts

Hannah Jones
hjones@sierrasun.com

As rock climbing grows in popularity, climbing areas are seeing an increase in traffic causing overrun and damaged trails, a build up of trash and in some cases the restricted access to places once open to the public.

In response to the impacts of higher traffic the Truckee Donner Land Trust will be heading a restoration project at Blackwall this Sunday, an 11.9 acre property on Donner Summit purchased by the trust three years ago. On Sunday the group will be painting over graffiti on the outside of snow sheds at Donner Summit, just one project in a series of restoration projects called Adopt a Crag.

Though climbers have been setting routes on the walls of Donner Summit for 50 years, private landowners expressed concern over liability putting access to the area at risk. In 2015 local climbers from Access Fund and Truckee Donner Land Trust purchased the property with the intent of preserving it for outdoor enthusiasts in the future.

The restoration project will be taking place in conjunction with REI's climbing festival at Sugar Bowl on July 13 and 14. The festival welcomes all climbers regardless of experience levels for two days of clinics, games and activities, with camping at Sugar Bowl's Judah Lodge. Dinner will be provided Saturday night and breakfast Saturday and Sunday with an auction for the chance to climb with professional climbers Hans Florine, Emily Harrington or Adrian Ballinger on Saturday. Festival-goers are encouraged to sign up to help at the cleanup, but the opportunity to volunteer is open to anyone.

"There's a number of things that need to be done," said Gary Allan, Donner Summit land manager, including trash pick-up and trail restoration work.

Allan said the trust is working on creating a coalition of volunteers to preserve the property and maintain access to the crags while addressing all groups that use it including climbers, hikers and mountain bikers.

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"The summit is an iconic place," he said. "And there's different groups that use it, not just climbers."

Part of the proceeds from festival registration fees and auction will go towards the land trust for future restoration projects.

Click here for more information on the climbing festival and to sign up for Sunday's Crag cleanup.

Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or hjones@sierrasun.com.