Hidden Gems Wilderness backers strike deal with the local climbing community

Scott Condon
Aspen Correspondent
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

The proponents of the Hidden Gems Wilderness Campaign agreed Wednesday to remove some lands from their proposal to avoid a battle with rock climbers.

The Hidden Gems’ boundaries will be adjusted so popular climbing areas along the north side of Highway 82 on the way up Independence Pass won’t be included in the proposal. Other boundaries will be adjusted in the Assignation Ridge and Hayes Creek areas of the Crystal Valley drainage, the Wilderness campaign and Roaring Fork Climbers’ Coalition announced in a joint press release.

The exact acreage that will be withdrawn from the Hidden Gems proposal wasn’t available Wednesday.

“Those were sacrifices we swallowed hard for,” said Sloan Shoemaker, executive director of Wilderness Workshop, a group heading the effort to add roughly 400,000 acres of Wilderness in western Colorado.

The areas of compromise include a sheer face known as the Grottos Wall or Grottos Cliff – a highly visible area immediately adjacent to the highway east of Aspen, said Michael Kennedy, a representative of the climbers’ coalition. The original Wildern

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