Improving the Independence Pass Corridor


Members of the IPF Board of Directors teamed up with volunteers and a staff member of Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers on July 30 to improve the access to "Classy Cliffs". Classy Cliffs is a popular rock climbing area on the Pass. Climbers can enjoy this area year-round as it is located below the Winter Gate. (The Winter Gate is the place where the Colorado Department of Transportation closes Highway 82 over the Pass in November every year.) Left to right: Annie Rickenbaugh, Jesse Hoffman, Boots Ferguson, IPF Board Member, Arlan Hemphill, Mark Falender, and Carl Nelson, Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers

In 2014, inmates from the Buena Vista Correctional Institute helped rehabilitate the popular ridgeline trail at the summit. Since 1997, inmates have spent over 20,000 hours providing invaluable assistance to IPF on a wide range of projects.


IPF's work is distinctive in the variety of projects that it undertakes each year throughout the Independence Pass corridor. We work closely with the Aspen Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service to identify needs and plan and manage projects.

IPF has planted over 29,000 native trees, shrubs, wildflowers, and grasses, and coordinated the work of hundreds of volunteers on the Pass. Nearly 53,000 hours of labor have been contributed by volunteers ranging from Roaring Fork Valley school children to Buena Vista Correctional Facility inmates.

IPF works with the Colorado Department of Corrections, recruiting work crews from the Buena Vista Correctional Facility to assist with projects. The inmate workers, for example, have been an enormous help in maintaining and improving trails throughout the corridor.

On July 30, members of the rock climbing community turned out to help improve the Classy Cliffs climbing area east of Aspen on the Pass. Jesse Hoffman and Arlan Hemphill helped out.
Mark Falender displays the new "love handle" at the Classy Cliffs climbing area. There are three crags at this area--Master Headwall, Classy Cliff, and Dragon Rock.