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A New Access to Allenspur Climbing

Submitted by jimurl on Sat, 06/06/2009 - 22:57

June 2009 Update: There have been recent new developments in climbers access to Allenspur. For years the "Red Barn Antiques" property (now under new ownership) has been off-limits for use to approach the crags- all access has been via the Harper property easement. (see map at bottom). The current owners, however, are interested allowing climbers to hike to the crags via a more direct trail across the southern end of their property. The SMCC and the landowners have entered into a one-year trial period for SMCC Members and their guests to use this new approach.

Thanks for everyone who helped build the new trail! Our lean team whipped out the new trail in no time! Read about it, with photos.

New access marked in orange, above.

New access Google Earth image:

A few things to remeber about this new way to access the crags:

  • Park at the Carter’s Bridge fishing access, not on East River Road where the trail turns up towards the crag.
  • From the Carter Bridge Fishing Access Site, walk east and south down East River Road for 250 yards. Turn east and follow the climbers trail up to the base of Boundry Crag.
  • Do not trespass onto any other portion of the private property.
  • The trail is for foot traffic only. No motorized vehicles or bicycles
    are permitted.
  • Dogs must be on a leash at all times!

This trail access is shorter and closer than the older trail. Please abide by these guidelines!

History of climbing at Allenspur

In 2004, after many years of closure, the Allen Spur climbing crag was reopened. The reestablishment of climbing at Allenspur came after much hard work by SMCC members who negotiated an easement with landowners, surveyed the trail location and constructed trails to the crag.

Re-opening access to Allenspur was a lot of hard work. Most importantly, the landowner, Hilda Harper, agreed to donate an easement across her property so climbers could get to the crag (which is on BLM land). Kris Erickson, Bill Dockins, Kevin Hutchinson, and others all met with Mrs. Harper to explain what would be involved. A local surveyor donated his time to survey th eexact location of the trail, and dozens of SMCC volunteers built it.

Recently, a few careless individuals have been accessing the crag via routes other than those built and maintained by SMCC. In other words, they are trespassing in order to make their hike shorter. This is a strict violation of the easement agreement SMCC has with Hilda Harper. If this activity continues, landowners will have little choice but to once again close the crags. The climbing access at Allen Spur is simple. (see map)

1) Park only at Carter Bridge fishing access.

2) After parking, walk north on the gravel road marked 'private drive'. Continue walking until you pass a small culvert. Turn right, after the culvert, onto a marked climbers trail. Follow the trail along a fence line, cross a gravel road and continue uphill past several switch-backs. You will then be on BLM land where the trail turns south and continues to the climbing areas. Despite rumors to the contrary, this is the only legal climbing access to Allen Spur crags.

3) Keep your dog on a leash. The landowners like to see wildlife, but dogs can scare them off.

DO NOT drive on the gravel road beyond Carter Bridge access. DO NOT access the crags by 'shortcutting' straight to the crags from East River Road. Both of these routes require trespassing across private land. Those who choose to trespass run the risk of arrest and may also cause landowners to close the area once and for all.

If you see or know of someone who insists on violating SMCC's easement agreement you should tell them to stop, report them to authorities, or send their names out to the SMCC email list and let 200+ pissed-off climbers have a crack at them!

Former Allenspur Access Map

Allenspur access map

The climbing at Allenspur was originally developed almost 10 years ago. Because there were only a few climbers, access was allowed directly to the base of the crags. However, as the area became more and more popular, that landowner became concerned about allowing access to the general public. As such, the area was off-limits to climbing for several years.

In early 2004, a possible solution was found: Hilda Harper, the owner of land north of the prior access points, offered to donate an access easement—a legal right for people to cross her land on the way to the crags. The upshot was that the Southwest Montana Climbers Coalition built a trail to access the climbing, and Mrs. Harper allowed access to the crags by the SMCC and other climbers.

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