AVP AREA CLOSED TO CLIMBING

13 Jun

ATTENTION ALL GHSP CLIMBERS!

Access Alert for AVP Bouldering Area: AVP AREA CLOSED TO CLIMBING

Please respect this area closure: Climbing and all visitation is prohibited.

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With a heavy heart I am writing that the AVP Bouldering Area is now closed to all climbing and visitation. This closure covers the entirety of the AVP Area listed on pages 18-27 of the GHSP Bouldering Guidebook consisting of the AVP Boulder, Hero Boulder, Sidekick Boulder and their 40+ combined boulder problems. The Access Fund and Southwest Virginia Climbers Coalition are both assessing the situation. Until more is understood, Grayson Highlands State Park is asking climbers to please consider the area permanently closed and off limits to climbing and visitation as a whole.

Some background on the area: AVP could easily be considered the origin of GHSP Bouldering. It is likely that folks climbed on the AVP Boulder prior to the 1990s but without a doubt a scene developed in the early 1990s at what is now the AVP Boulders. James Litz and a strong crew of Southeastern climbers developed much of the boulder problems on the hilltop from the 90s forward, and crews from North Carolina and Southwest Virginia continued sessions there well into the 2000s.

Around 2010 Park Officials indicated that the boulders sat on what may be the actual park boundary and suggested that they were considered to be in a “grey area” due to uncertain survey lines and a lack of precise GPS and survey information for that specific location. As climbers had been hiking in to AVP for a long time, the access situation was viewed as stable across the board. After 2010 GHSP approved bouldering in the park master plan for recreation. In 2013 the GHSP Bouldering Guidebook was published, choosing the AVP Boulder out of hundreds of other park blocks to be its cover photo. After 2013, AVP’s popularity grew with the guidebook’s release, and two of the Park’s most sought after boulder problems became “Front Man” (V5) and Jimmy Webb’s “Lifestyles” (V9).

Early, June 2016 “No Trespassing” signs were seen posted near the boulderfield.  By June 9th, flagging tape appeared along the old fence line beside the boulders, and by June 12th the realty company’s sign was purposefully planted by the climber access trail alerting visitors that tresspassing is prohibited.

The landowners for the property adjacent to the park have apparently sold the house and 30 acres. The private property signs and realty listing indicates that the property line includes the AVP, Hero and Sidekick Boulders.

Please be respectful of this closure. This cannot be stressed enough. Trespassing here could bring ramifications for Grayson Highlands State Park and the VA State Park system. If climbers trespass here it will reflect badly upon climbers and GHSP Bouldering as a whole.

Losing the AVP Area is a substantial loss to the Grayson Highlands Bouldering Community. AVP is a deeply special location for so many of us, and classics such as “Front Man” “Lifestyles” and many others will be missed. Fortunately, thanks to the VA State Park system, we still have access to the vastness that is the rest of GHSP. There are still ~1000 boulder problems to climb in Grayson, and the Park isn’t going anywhere. Huge thanks to all GHSP boulderers for respecting this closure, and a huge thanks to the State Park for protecting the Grayson Highlands landscape for the public to enjoy and embrace.

-Aaron Parlier

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