Indian Rock – South Bay – Adopt-A-Crag – 4/18/2015

Supporting your local crags just feels good – you are outdoors, you get to work with your hands, and you get to spend some time with like-minded climbers.

This was the second year we have done a major clean-up event at Indian Rock in the South Bay. Our work at Indian Rock has been primarily focused on three areas:

  1. Improvement of the trail from upper to lower Indian Rock.
  2. Closing of social trails and erosion control.
  3. Broken glass and trash clean-up.

Last Saturday, we had 40 volunteers show up to volunteer their time to support one of their local crags. This is huge and we want to give a huge THANK YOU to all of the volunteers for coming out and showing some major love for Indian Rock. These events go a very long way with the building of positive relationships with local land managers and maintaining access.

We also had the honor of working with Mike and Amanda from the Access Fund Conservation Team – these two are amazing and a lot of the work that was completed would not have been possible without their knowledge and expertise.

Here is a breakdown of the work that we completed:

  • 4 Social Trails Blocked
  • 5 Rock Steps Built
  • 1 Rubble Wall Built
  • 1300+ Pounds of Materials Collected (logs + rocks)
  • 250 Pounds of Glass and Trash Removed
  • Fencing and Visual Queues Built to Guide Users into Trails

These events would also not be possible without the generous support of our partners:

  • Boulder Creek Pizza and Pub + Touchstone Climbing and Fitness donated lunch for the volunteers.
  • The Studio Climbing Gym and Planet Granite Belmont donated raffle prizes.
  • CocoLibre donated coconut water for all of the volunteers.
  • CLIF Bar donated their bars to fuel volunteers before and after lunch.

Check out some photos from the event:

All of our events start off with a “project overview” and “safety talk”.

How do you get this much glass out? One way is to use big sifting screens to separate the glass from the dirt.

The “material collection” team did an amazing job of collecting large rocks to build the new stone steps and the rubble wall.

Some of the rocks were so big we had to use a rock sling and 5 to 6 people to carry them.

The “trail building” crew did an amazing job at dry stacking the rocks into stairs that will prevent further erosion and make your approach more pleasant.

Here is the finished product – the rubble wall on the left directs users into the main trail – this will help to protect the tree roots and stop further erosion of the nearby hillside.

Down at the lower level we focused on glass and trash collection. We also built a small fence to act as a visual queue that will guide users to the established trail that leads to the boulder problems below.

In addition to the fencing we built, we also added branches to the eroding hillside to encourage users to not cut the trail and cause more erosion to this hillside. This trail that leads to the lower level boulder problems will be our next major project at Indian Rock – due to the steep slope of the trail and the multiple tight switchbacks, we will need to build the majority of it out of stone.

Indian Rock – Berkeley – Adopt-A-Crag – 4/22/15

Indian Rock in the Berkeley Hills is a huge part of climbing history for the Bay Area, California, and even climbing in general. It is also a very popular climbing spot almost every day of the week for local climbers….the guidebooks don’t even start to cover the number of eliminate problems that exist.

The Bay Area Climbers Coalition has hosted a number of clean-up events at Indian Rock over the last 18 months, and unfortunately the first one we hosted solved one problem but created two other problems. The short version is that the City of Berkeley Parks Department wanted us to remove the old wood chips that had accumulated in the lower level over the last 20+ years before they would allow us to put in any new wood chips. Seemed totally fair and a reasonable request.

The challenge arose when we realized that the old wood chips went about 12 inches down before we hit real dirt. Even with new wood chips installed, that was not going to bring the ground back to the original level. It also exposed a couple of rocks that had been hiding under decades of wood chips. It was a problem and it needed to be corrected.

With the support of a number of local pillars of the climbing community and wisdom from landscaping professionals, we developed a plan to correct these issues.

The Bay Area Climbers Coalition authored a 12 page proposal that was submitted to the City of Berkeley Parks Department. The plan involved the installation of a layer of crushed rock that would raise the ground level, cover the exposed rocks, and create an effective drainage layer. We would then put new wood chips on top of the crushed rock layer.

Six months later we had the green light from the City and we assembled a team of 20 volunteers that worked with a number of employees from the City to get the following work done:

  • removed current layer of wood chips
  • installed 9 cubic yards of crushed rock – using a plate compactor every two inches of lift
  • installed 6 cubic yards of wood chips on top of the crushed rock base

Check out the photos of the work being done and we hope that you enjoy the new “floor” in the lower level of Indian Rock!

Project Overview and Safety Talk

First, we had to remove the old wood chips and get the ground down to the hard pack dirt – we filled 4 dump trucks full of old wood chips.

The City of Berkeley provided us with 9 cubic yards of 3/4inch crushed granite to use as a base layer.

We used a chute to move the crushed granite to the lower level.

Volunteers moved wheel barrow load after load into the pit.

We then installed the crushed rock in 2 inch levels and used a pneumatic plate compactor to “lock” the crushed rock together.

After we installed all of the crushed granite, we then brought down new wood chips to soften the landing, cut down on dust, and make it smell awesome.

As soon as we were done people were climbing again – everyone was pretty darn psyched to have the park looking so nice!

Huge “THANK YOU” to this amazing group of volunteers!

Dry Sea Crag – Rebolting Project

Bolts – there is a lot of unknown trust that goes into clipping that bolt and having faith that it will hold a fall.

There is a lot that goes into the integrity of a bolt…..who placed it, what kind of bolt did they use, is the rock solid enough, how old is the bolt, what kind of environmental factors have come into play, is it rusted where I can’t see?

Bolt technology and bolting standards have come a long way over the last twenty years. Luckily in the Bay Area, we have a number of veteran bolters who have invested a lot of time and money into ensuring that our local crags stay safe. Jim Thornburg is definitely one of those people.

Photo Credit: Jim Thornburg

When Jim Thornburg approached us about working with him to tackle the replacement of some obviously rusted and dangerous bolts at Dry Sea Crag, we were 100% up for it. As you can see from the photo above, the old bolt on the left was definitely in need of replacement. The new bolt on the right, a glue-in titanium, has been a popular option for ocean-side crags around the world.

Photo Credit: Casey Zak

The all-star team of experienced bolters – Jim Thornburg (author of Bay Area Rock guide-book), Casey Zak (BACC Vice President), and Steven Roth (amazing climber and experienced bolter) – were able to install 26 new bolts and remove 6 old bolts.

Why didn’t they remove more of the old bolts? Unfortunately, a lot of the older bolts were so far gone that they were not possible to get out without risking damage to the rock… when you are climbing at Dry Sea Crag and you see two bolts, pick the one that isn’t rusty.

The Bay Area Climbers Coalition has established a Bolting Advisory Group to work with land managers and experienced bolters like Jim Thornburg to take on projects like this at crags around the Bay Area. If you have experience with bolting and are interested in helping out, please drop us a line –

Huge “THANK YOU” to the ASCA (American Safe Climbing Association) for providing the drill bits, glue, and titanium bolts!

Photo Credit: Casey Zak



Stewardship Project with CLIF Bar – Remillard Park

Remillard Park is one of the smaller “rock parks” in the Berkeley Hills, and it surprisingly has some fun climbs – especially if you are looking for a relaxing afternoon of casual top roping with some great friends in a beautiful park. Some folks even highball/free solo the climbs if you are of that mindset.

The amazing folks at CLIF Bar have been long-time supporters of the Access Fund and the traveling Conservation Team. One of the things (there are many) that I love about CLIF Bar is that the organizational culture there is reflected in every employee I have met – it isn’t just a poster or a slogan. A great example of this is Nikki Ferenz. She approached the Bay Area Climbers Coalition about doing a volunteer stewardship day with her team to support a local crag and she was very clear that they wanted to do some real work, not just trash pick-up.

Not a problem at all!

While clearing out all the broken glass and trash around the park isn’t super fun, we needed to get it done before we cleared all of the downed vegetation off the trails and slopes. Overall, we collected about 60 pounds of trash and broken glass.

After that was done, we cleared all the debris off the trail around the park PLUS cleared out a huge “nest” of downed tree limbs, branches, and leaves that was clogging up a huge hillside. Check out the before and after photos plus the final pile of debris cleared.

Before photo of the main part of the trail:

After photo of the main part of the trail:

Pile of debris – roughly 6 cubic yards!

There is still a lot of work to do at this park, but we were able to tackle the major issues to ensure the park is accessible to all users within the community, including climbers. A huge thank you to Nikki and her team from CLIF Bar and Pam Boland from the City of Berkeley Parks department for being super amazing and supporting our local crags!