Although you've probably never heard of it, Jailhouse Rock is an important crag for many California climbers. In fact for some of the state's best rock athletes, this was the first spot they tried hard sport routes.
Jailhouse is located near Sonora, CA. in western Tuolome County. It's a difficult climbing area with many routes between 5.12-5.14. However, there is no guidebook and photos are hard to come by.
The area was kept quiet because it sat on private land. But a few local climbers maintained a good relationship with the landowners, Martha and Steve Weinstein, who allowed people to visit and climb.
Key among them was Tom Addison who has climbed the area for about 20 years. When Addison heard that the Weinsteins were going to subdivide 200 acres of the property and sell them off, he knew it would cut off access to the cliff. That's when Addison got in touch with the Access Fund in Boulder, CO.
The Access Fund, founded in 1991, works to keep climbing areas open across the United States, these include areas used in rock or ice climbing, bouldering or mountaineering.
Joe Sambataro, the organization’s Access Director, began to work with Addison, the Weinsteins and donors to create a permanent easement that would allow climbers to access the area forever. (An explanation of the process is shown with visuals in the video.)
In the fall of 2010, the Access Fund finalized the deal, saving the climbing crag for future generations.
If you’re a climber and you want to help secure land, you can make a donation to the access fund or purchase a one-year membership for $35. According to the Access Fund website, almost one in five climbing sites is threatened by access issues.