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A BRIEF EARLY HISTORY OF THE KANSAS CITY CLIMBING CLUB ON ITS 30 YEAR ANNIVERSARY

posted Nov 14, 2014, 7:07 AM by Kansas City Climbing Community   [ updated Nov 14, 2014, 7:31 AM ]
By Jim Grace   November, 2014

The Kansas City Climbing Club was organized the winter of 1983-84 and met regularly at Backwoods on Broadway.  The first membership roster listed 15 KC area climbers from backgrounds including rock, ice, mountaineering, and of all experience levels.  By the fall of 1984, the club had doubled to 30 members.  The club continued to meet at Backwoods through the ‘80s, then began meeting regularly at the Salvation Army in Independence, where club members built one of the first climbing walls in KC. Over the years, the meeting locations varied as new outdoor stores and climbing gyms opened. 

Many people served as early leaders, but one name stands out.  Bob Allison was club president and coordinator for many events and trips throughout the late ‘80s until the early 2000s.  For years, an annual highlight was the club Christmas party at Bob’s house, where Bob and his family threw a beautiful party, well-attended, with lots of great food for hungry climbers.  Bob was also known as a source for gear.  There was a saying that,”if some of your gear isn’t from Bob, you aren’t from Kansas City.”  Bob also served in several positions with the American Alpine Club, and a photo of him hangs in tribute in the library of the AAC Climbers’ Ranch in the Tetons.

The early KCCC organized many trips.  They included climbs in Russia, Mexico, and regular trips to WY, WA, CO, and, of course, MO and AR.  Yearly outings were made to Arkansas, Gannet Peak, WY, and the Ouray Ice Festival, in CO.  New climbers were always welcome, and great lifelong friends, and a few marriages, began at KCCC. Members were also active in crag cleanup and development, teaching youth, explaining climbing to the general public, and working with landowners to make the sport safer and accepted.  

At its heart, for 30 years the KCCC has been a place for climbers of all abilities and aspirations to meet other climbers, explore their interests, learn, and have fun.