We're excited to be taking Brave New Wild up north to one of the major epicenters of California climbing -- the Bay Area! We'll be screening at the classic theater the Landmark Shattuck, right across the street from UC Berkeley on July 5th at 7:30pm. We're so excited to partner up with our friends at the Bay Area Climbers Coalition to get the word out, and wanted to ask president Matt Ulery to give us a little background on the BACC. It's going to be great, so don't forget to get your tickets to the July 5th post-independence day extravaganza -- the deadline to make our threshold is June 27!
BNW: How did the Bay Area Climbers Coalition get started?
Matt Ulery: The Bay Area Climbers Coalition started near the end of 2013 with a clean-up event at Indian Rock in the Berkeley Hills. I was talking with a lot of other climbers about who is responsible for the upkeep of the local climbing areas and who works with the local land managers to make sure we don't run into any issues - the general answer as that "someone" was doing that but no one knew whom was doing it. I did a bit more research and talked with the Access Fund. I came to find out that there was not an organization in the Bay Area doing that type of work.
We stole this picture from Matt's Facebook, and really want to know what's going on here...
BNW: What kind of stuff does the BACC do? What's your mission?
MU: The Bay Area Climbers Coalition is a volunteer-run 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Our mission is to preserve access to our local climbing areas by actively fostering relationships with land managers, hosting stewardship events, and providing educational programming for the climbing community.
BNW: How would you describe the climbing culture in the Bay Area?
MU: Like the entire Bay Area, the local climbing community is diverse, passionate, and committed. Bay Area climbers get after it and with all of their other commitments, they still prioritize the things that matter the most to them - climbing.
A great example, our Vice President (Casey Zak) works full time as an engineer at Apple, puts in a ton of hours with this organization, trains hard, climbs hard......and just completed a free ascent of Freerider on El Capitan. If you aren't familiar with the route, go online, check it out.
The growth in popularity of climbing the last handful of years has very quickly expanded the size and diversity of our community. While I feel as though this is primarily a good thing, it does present a very specific opportunity for an organization like the Bay Area Climbers Coalition to ensure that these new climbers are well prepared to go adventuring outside and understand local ethics in regards to climbing.
Regardless of experience, I do feel that a very common theme among local climbers is the understanding of how important conservation and preservation of our outdoor climbing resources are.
BNW: How big is your organization, and what do people do if they want to join?
MU: We currently have 5 board members that run the organization.....shameless plug.....we are adding about 10 new board member positions later this year so if you are psyched about volunteering your time and skills at a higher level definitely get in touch.
We had over 400 volunteers participate in stewardship projects at local crags last year, which equates over 1,400 volunteer hours of hard work put into our local climbing areas.
If you are interested in getting involved it is super easy, just go to our website and join our email list to hear about upcoming events. If you are into the facebook thing then definitely join our Facebook group.
Attending one of our Adopt-A-Crag events is super easy and you don't need to have any previous experience - we can teach you. A typical event includes lots of trail work, erosion control, trash removal, graffiti removal, and lots of other random projects that typically involve tools, dirt, and sweat.
Check out this picture of the BACC in action removing graffiti, taken by www.andrealaue.com — Instagram — @andrealaue
BNW: How did you (Matt) get involved with the BACC? How did you started climbing?
MU: I founded the organization back in 2013 and then when we became an official non-profit organization at the start of 2015 I was asked to continue on as the President. It has truly been the most rewarding experience to give back to a community that has given me so much over the years.
I started climbing in 2010, immediately fell in love, and started climbing outside. I started off sport climbing a lot, then really really got into bouldering (and still am), and now I am starting to venture into the wonderful world of trad climbing.
BNW: What's your ideal weekend like?
MU: Oh man, that is a hard one.....I think that an ideal weekend should always include a hefty combination of: good coffee, lots of snacks, perfect try hard temps, a couple of your most psyched/supportive friends, and lots of rock.
If the weather is poopy then I would quickly settle for good coffee, still snacks....always snacks, my favorite cuddle partner (my wife), naps, a book, geeking out on what to climb next, and maybe an episode of Archer (phrasing?).
BNW: What should people look forward to at the screening? Will BACC be there?
MU: We will most definitely be there - I already took the day off work and am cutting a bouldering trip short - we will be there!
Every climbing film screening that I have been to in the Bay Area has been amazing and I have 114% faith that the showing of Brave New Wild will be on par. You should expect a ton of other super psyched climbers, silliness, someone will likely yell something during the screening, a super sweet raffle at the end, and of course an amazing film about the golden age of climbing!
Thank you, Matt! Get your tickets here and we'll see you all there!