Sorry for the delay on this one folks, we’ve been so busy putting together an awesome calendar of program for the year that we are just now getting around to blogging about Project # 9.
After our first annual Recycle, Reuse, Resell event in February The Arch Project Hawaii continued our exciting 2017 schedule of events with trail maintenance and a site clean up at the Green Boulders. A popular bouldering location and one of the first sites to be developed for bouldering outside of Waimea bay, Green Boulders is situated deep in a valley on the north shore within the boundaries of the Kuaokala Forest Reserve. The trail back to the climbing area cuts through a verdant and lush tropical rain forest and the boulders themselves are situated in a clearing surrounded by kukui nut trees. Green Boulders sports some of the most classic lines on the island that have become test pieces for the local climbing community like Northern Lights and Southern Whale.
With all the rain we’ve gotten this winter the trail back to the boulders, which is shared with some game trails, had been overrun with california grass and was in desperate need of some clearing and re-tagging. The rains also lead to a dead tree falling across one of the boulders leading to a potentially dangerous situation for climbers back there. Because of the location of the trail-head along the side of Farrington highway refuse often gets dumped off there just out of site of the public.
We had an amazing turnout of volunteers on a warm and sunny Sunday morning. We quickly made an impressive pile of used tires (which came in handy later) and quickly set to work cleaning up. A group headed directly back to the boulders to take care of the log and clean up the site. The rest of us brandished our machetes, and one weed whacker, and quickly set to work moving down the trail. We re-tagged the trail, cleared what seemed like an endless amount of California grass. As we were nearing the halfway point, we met up with the folks who were coming back along the trail from the boulders. We finished this project in record time, we had the entire trail re-tagged, cleared and ready to go before it was noon. After that it was time to pull out the grill and fire it up on our new impromptu tire table. After some cold drinks and a couple of hot dogs it was time to head back in with some pads and get out on the rocks! We cleared out 3 large trash and five huge industrial tires that day.
Written by: Ryan Johns
Following our Reel Rock 11 film fundraising event in which we raised over $2,000. Over 100 total volunteers and donors helped make and serve over 1100 Thanksgiving meals to homeless families, individuals, and animals. This event went live 1 week prior to Thanksgiving, and it brought together so many like-minded people to create something together that is bigger than ourselves - truly the embodiment of The Arch Project's mission.
Thank you to all that supported this event by attending our Reel Rock fundraiser, made donations, or donated their time by food prepping, passing out food or both, to help us make this feed the homeless event a huge success. Because of our volunteers the 1,100 meals made it to almost every part of the island. We reached the homeless population out east (Waimanalo and Kailua), north (Wahiawa, Pupukea and Hale'iwa), west (Ewa Beach and Pearl City), every part in town (Kaka'ako, A'ala Park, Ala Moana Park, Sand Island, Waikiki, Diamond Head, Thompson's Square Park, Nimitz Highway, Bishop Square, City Hall, Manoa, Kapahulu, Old Stadium, Blaisdell Park, Dole Cannery, Pali Highway and Ke'ehi Lagoon) and more.
Although it was a great experience to meet some of the members of our houseless community, hear their stories, and listen to their needs, it was heart wrenching to feel the emotional connection to those families who didn't want to be seen or meet us. We knew they needed our help and we're glad they took food and supplies we left after we walked away. Homelessness isn't a choice for anyone and in many cases the loss of a home results in a loss of dignity and a cycle develops. Although these are just sandwiches we hope it brought a reminder that a part of the world is still on their side rooting for them. We were particularly touched by the number of homeless people caring for animals (every single one was well fed!), showing compassion in their own way. One man said to me that the bond he had with his dogs was the only thing keeping him alive. I think we can do more to help them especially in helping provide health care to both people and animals in these communities.
Those who participated felt equally blessed as those who benefited from their service, and I look forward to continuing to work passionately with you all again soon. Words cannot express the gratitude we have for all those who supported this event and the Arch Project.
(A view from the top during the show. Photo taken by Justin Hang)
We stood in front of our drawing board, next on the list... REEL ROCK TOUR! This amazing film was founded in 2006 by filmmakers Josh Lowell (Big UP Productions) and Peter Mortimer (Sender Films). It’s a collection of the best climbing and adventure films produced every year and every year I wait patiently to watch the next! Justin Ridgely (owner of VRG) has introduced and hosted several Reel Rock Tours in the past and decided to take a break from hosting it this year. That presented an opportunity for us, we decided to carry on the torch and help continue to not only bring the Reel Rock to Honolulu but also to fundraise for our annual Thanksgiving Feed the Homeless event (an event Nate had started 3 years ago), which meant applying for the show liscencing (check), finding a venue (Agora Kaka'ako, check), followed with promoting it (and check)! Along with the event we also wanted to raise awareness about the safety of climbing and stewardship by bringing on guest speakers Mike Richardson (owner of Climb Aloha and founder/president of Hawaii Climbing Coalition) and Debbie Halbert (treasurer of Hawaii Climbing Coalition) who discussed climbing safety and Timy Fairfield (pro climber) who shared what stewardship meant to him.
(Guess speaker and pro climber Timy Fairfield smiling for the camera. Photo taken by Phil Langford)
Like a lot of Reel Rock Tours and fundraisers, there were drinks, food and raffle tickets (which meant amazing door prizes) and a salmon ladder comp! Thanks to our sponsors Timy Fairfield, VRG, Climb Aloha, Juice’d Life, Johnson Brother Liquor Co., Uncles Seafood Restaurant and an anonymous donor, we had over 2,000 dollars in value of door prizes consisting of climbing shoes, chalk bags, rope, gym membership, gift cards and many more! It was a much more generous donation than we anticipated from all our sponsors that we could not raffle them off fast enough and I sure wish I was amongst the crowd with raffle tickets!
(Here we are next to the abundance of door prizes waiting to go to raffle winners. Photo by Justin Hang)
Because of the support from the climbing community who came out to watch Reel Rock 11 and made donations to our bar, food and bought raffel tickets we raised about 2,000 dollars in proceeds that will be put towards buying grocery to feed the homeless for our Thanksgiving event. We are especially grateful for our friends who volunteered their time to help us make that successful night happen, we could have not done it without you. We also could have not done it without our sponsors, and especially the climbing community! With out all of you The Arch Project woud not exist! Until next year Reel Rock!
(Below are more pictures from the event taken by talented photographers, Phillip Langford and Justin Hang)
During a recent convention, we attended a showing of a documentary called "Racing Extinction" at the Hawaii Theater in Chinatown. The film highlighted the rapid loss of natural resources that humans are inflicting on the world. Not just in urban areas, but also in rural nations. The film took a serious look at the problems of Manta Ray fishing, the illegal shark fin trade, extinction of Hawaiian birds and frogs, methane overproduction, and more in a scientific and visual way that allowed us to understand our impact. However, it also showed us how humans are not only the disease (eradicating natural resources) but we can also be the cure. The movie shows how education and changing the culture to shift the economy to ecotourism instead of hunting of creatures such as whale sharks, It showed how simple awareness and changing every day habits (like eating one vegetarian meal a week) can create a huge amount of change in the demand for beef and resulting methane impact on the ozone layer. Although there certainly was bias, it was eye opening and a call to action for everyone who attended. As a veterinarian, I am always in the midst of animal issues, but I had not thought of things in the way the film presented them before. At the showing in Chinatown, we were surprised how few people were in attendance, so we decided to have a small screening of our own for members of The Arch Project.
One of our Founding members Christy Park, gave us access to a small theater at the Pacifica in Honolulu. 35 members of our organization attended this screening, and we provided donation based popcorn and drinks to fundraise for upcoming events. It was also the first time we put our shirts out there to get some feedback on the design and fit. We met some new faces and we were glad everyone came!
(We set up right in front of the life guard stand with a sign for our volunteers to find us with 808clean up supplies ready to be passed out!)
Before the climbing gym existed, Waimea bay was the first place I tried bouldering and the go to spot for bouldering, if not sport climbing at Mokule'ia. Waimea bay on the north shore is truly a magical place, not because of it's beauty, clear blue waters, occasional spinner dolphins visiting over the summers and the monstrous winter waves, but because of the people you meet. I've met many people and made many friends over the years climbing at Waimea bay. Your never alone even if showing up alone.
(We split up in two groups, one group headed in the direction in this picture and the other group in the opposite direction. It was great to see kids join us that morning.)
Unfortunately we did a terrible job at capturing the day on camera. What we do have from that day aside from photos above will be in the following slide show. Hope you enjoyed this brief blog and our photos. Feel free to send us any feedback or suggestions for crags you want to us to tackle next!
I'm a bit delayed on this post considering the clean up was back in August and we're now in the month of October, but I guess better late then never!
The Silo, where to start with that mess… Let's start from the beginning. The Silo was founded sometime in the summer of 2015 by a local climber. I was invited out to this crag many times before, but at the time I was taking a break from climbing (as I do every year) and was uninterested in going. I was also informed about the massive amount of trash that was left behind from squatters who have since been cleared out (at least the majority of them). With the attempt of contacting the church, which the land belonged to, he expressed wanting to clean it out with their permission and assistance and with the intention of building a relationship with the church so that climbers would always have access to these boulders. The church granted permission for the cleanup but could not provide resources or assistance. In result, the cleanup never happened.
(Saint Peter and Paul's Mission Church was built in 1953. Although the church lot is 0ften filled up with Waimea bay beach goers looking for parking, it still holds Sunday mass.)
Over a year later, this past summer, with my newly found motivation to get back into climbing along with our mission, my partner Nate and I decided to check it out. With the help of our friend Christy guiding the way, we started up this very pleasant trail that sits at the back of St. Peter and Paul’s Missions Church. It welcomed us with a St. Mary statue that stands about 2ft tall a little past the entrance of the trail. The 5 minute approach to this awesome little spot that consist of about 5 problems or so was awesome and ideal. What wasn’t ideal was the massive amount of trash that you had to hike through (I never understood the severity of it till witnessing it myself). Nate was convinced there was a body under one of the tarps that was left behind. Such a pleasantly short trail to some amazing routes, have been desecrated. Our hearts sunk at the thought of anyone being able to leave such a mess behind on such a beautiful trail.
(Here's Nate posing for the camera and a few pics of the area, keep in mind a lot of trash is hidden behind brush and trees. We showed up before the volunteers to set up a perimeter of mosquito punks.)
With our non-profit just starting and our goal to encourage stewardship, the Silo Cleanup became our 2nd project to tackle. With the church already being hounded before, we decided to contact them again and actually get the job done with or without assistance. After leaving numerous messages, Nate finally got in touch with Josh (the church grounds keeper) who told us the same as he has said before that we were welcomed to clean it out but without their help of the trash removal from the property, which meant finding the means ourselves.
(Here's a few more before shots for good measure!)
After figuring out logistics (trailer rental, supplies from 808 Cleanups, etc...), and getting the word out there, we were able to pull together an amazing group of climbers (11 of us total), new and old, to come together on a Friday early morning to tackle this job together. Only the 3 of us (Nate, Christy and I), have been to the Silo and knew what to mentally prepare for. As for everyone else, it was their first time and was anticipating only picking up a bottle or two because of past experiences. Instead, we were pulling up rotting carpets with weed growing through it, tarps, tents, lawn chairs, coolers, camping stoves and bag after bag of trash! The trash was never ending! It was a HUGE task for such a small group.
(Here's a few of us along with myself and Nate behind the camera getting an early start. Other volunteers showed up shortly after.)
(Nate smiling for the camera with the trailer partially loaded and ready for it's first run to the dump in Wahiawa.)
(Nate, Kris, Jess and I did the first trip to the dump to unload and make room for round 2.)
Four hours later and a trip already to the dump to clear the 4x8 trailer for more trash, we got the job done. With the area cleaned out, we enjoyed the rest of the afternoon with lunch, couple of beers and climbing at the Silo. I cannot thank our volunteers enough for sacrificing their time to help make the Silo a more pleasant place to enjoy and my partner Nate for making this all possible! All in all I thought it was a very enjoyable satisfying day off spent!
(Our second load wasn't as big but I guess that isn't a bad thing.)
Here's more images below that captured our day. I hope you enjoyed the blog and that it might inspire you to join our future cleanups or organize a cleanup yourself! Thank you again to our volunteers that day!