2020 ANNUAL BENEFIT DINNER: Climbers Uniting For The Planet

March 13-15, 2020 @ Denver, CO

Once a year, legends and newcomers alike don their finest dresses and suits, and come together to celebrate the climbing community. During this special weekend new friends are made, old friends reconnect, and we raise funds vital to the Club’s work.

We are incredibly excited to announce Kris McDivitt Tompkins will be the keynote at the 2020 Annual Benefit Dinner in Denver, Colorado. Former CEO of Patagonia and current president of Tompkins Conservation, Kris is a true champion for the earth. She and her late husband Doug Tompkins  turned millions of acres across Chile and Argentina into National Parks in an effort to restore and re-wild landscapes. Most recently, Kris completed the largest private land donation in history, with over one million acres going towards creating or expanding ten national parks in Chile. To date, Tompkins Conservation has helped conserve more than 14.2 million acres.

Mark your calendars for this special night, presented by Patagonia, and rare chance to hear from Kris. Registration opens in December 2019.

2019 Annual Benefit Dinner

Photo: AAC Member Jim Aikman

Photo: AAC Member Jim Aikman

THANK YOU for joining us at the AAC’s 2019 Annual Benefit Dinner to celebrate — and advance — the Club’s efforts to protect wild places and this amazing community’s achievements. Together, with your tremendous support, we raised over $300,000 in support of Club’s conservation and advocacy efforts.

Relieve the magic via Rock & Ice’s recap, Teton Gravity Research’s writeup, or by scrolling through event photos.

Thank you to our title sponsor Global Rescue, and all the supporting sponsors who helped make this event possible.

We can’t wait to do this again next year!

Awards 19.png

Each year the AAC recognizes outstanding achievements in conservation, climbing, and service to the climbing community. This year is no exception!

Weekend Schedule:

March 8, 2019

Send ‘n’ Social
Time: 7pm - 10pm
Location: Mission Cliffs - 2295 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA 94110
- Included with all Annual Dinner tickets
- FREE for AAC and Mission Cliffs Members

Join the American Alpine Club and Touchstone communities for a night of socializing and sending. Enjoy climbing games, a speed climbing comp, hang with the pros, take some sweet climbing clinics from an AAC instructor, and much more. 

AAC educational offerings:

ABDs at the ABD -We’ll be doing an expose of Assisted Braking Devices, and every funky tool on the market will be there for you to experiment with, ask questions about, and even demo.

Universal Belay Cards -If you’ve been wondering how to get your hands on a Universal Belay Card, this is your chance! Step up and demonstrate your belay skills, and we’ll add your name to the AAC Universal Belay database.  We’ll put a belay card in your hard, and your individualized version will arrive in the mail shortly thereafter.

Shuttle Service to Send ‘n’ Social
Departs Westin at 6pm and 7pm
Departs Send n’ Social at 9pm or 10pm
Free for Annual Dinner ticket holders, but space is limited. Please sign up HERE to reserve your seat today.

All Saturday events hosted at the Westin St Francis at 335 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Annual AAC's Member Meeting
Time: 9:30am - 10am
Location: Colonial Room

Brette Harrington Presentation
Time: 10am - 11am in the Colonial Room
Brette Harrington is a 26 year old climber and skier from Lake Tahoe, CA, who first became known for her trad-climbing and free-solo ascents. These include ascents of routes such as The Shadow (5.13a) in Squamish, and Grand Illusion (5.13c) in Sugarloaf, and the first free-solo ascent of Chiaro di Luna on Aguja Saint Exupery in Patagonia. She is a prolific first ascensionist, having put up a number of new routes across Canada, in the Costal Range, the Rockies, and Baffin Island, as well as new routes in southern Alaska. And now she is the 2019 recipient of the AAC's Bates Award. This is your chance to hear from this rising star of climbing!

Protect Our Winters
Time: 11:15am - 12:15pm in the Colonial Room

Speed: A Conversation
Time: 12:45pm - 2pm in the Colonial Room
A panel of some of speed climbing’s most notable names including Hans Florine, Adrian Ballinger, Emily Harrington, and more. They will discuss how the dynamic pursuit of speed has become a polarizing topic and how it will affect the future of our sport.

VIP Reception (By invite only, included with VIP Table and Patron Tickets)
Time: 5pm - 6pm in the Italian Room
Remarks from AAC CEO, Phil Powers at 5:30pm
Special Yosemite artifacts and history for viewing provided by Ken Yager. Never before seen virtual reality footage from the Karakoram range in Pakistan with AAC member John Stenderup. Joined by a strong Madison Mountaineering expedition team, this never before seen K2 footage will take your breath away as our members traveled to the 8,611m / 28,251ft summit of the mountain of mountains. Immersive experience provided by Madison Mountaineering.

Cocktail Reception and Silent Auction
Time: 6pm - 7pm in the Italian and Colonial Rooms

Dinner, Awards and Keynote by Colin Haley
Time: 7pm - 10pm in the Grand Ballroom

2019 Host Committee:

Jen Bruursema and Hans Florine - Committee Co-Chairs

Frank Dean, Jerry Gallwas, Sebastien Levin, Bruce McCubbery, Samuel Nies, Krisitin Nute, Jeff Rueppel, Sarah Steele, Ken Yager, Alina Zagaytova

Look Who’s Coming:

Check out the list of guests for this year’s event! Are you on it? Find out by clicking HERE.

Screen Shot 2017-11-02 at 2.07.29 PM.png


Join the Annual Dinner Facebook Event Page to receive the most up to date event announcements.

Start Planning Your Trip:

Room Block: The AAC room block with the Westin St Francis is now closed. Rooms may booked at their normal rates by calling (415) 397-7000. Note they do have a substantial discount for those aged 65+.

Additional nearby lodging options include The Inn at Union Square (approx $241/night), Handlery Union Square Hotel (approx $194/night), Post Hotel (approx $127/night), and Union Square Plaza Hotel (approx $118/night).

Flights: The closest airports are the San Francisco International Airport and Oakland Airport. To get to the Westin St Francis from either airport you can take public transit via the BART. The Powell Street Station will get you within 0.2 miles of the hotel.

Attire: Suit and Tie, Cocktail, Climber Formal

Presented by:

patagonia logo.jpg


To learn more about the unique and dynamic event sponsorship opportunities available CLICK HERE or email Heidi at [email protected]

2018 Annual Dinner Press Room:

"The American Alpine Club has announced the recipients of its 2018 Climbing Awards, given annually to distinguish individuals for their service, leadership and accomplishments."  - Read the full article from Alpinist

"I left the dinner feeling thankful to the AAC for helping to nurture the next generation of climbers, mountaineers, benefactors, and activists."
Read the full story from College Outside

"There are very few red carpets in the world of climbing, a sport whose best take great pride in how little they need to pursue their greatest passion. But the American Alpine Club’s Annual Benefit Dinner is a bit of an exception."  - Read the full article from REI

Banner photo: AAC member Jim Aikman