Register for 2019 Craggin' Classics

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The Craggin’ Classics create a really special environment where the climbing community comes together in a way that doesn’t typically happen. There are brands, athletes, climbers new, old, beginners, veterans—you bring them all together and that’s when the magic happens.
— Heidi McDowell, Senior Events Manager at the AAC

These special three-day festivals celebrate all things climbing. Join your local climbing community, share stories around the campfire, learn new skills, and give back to your local crag.

The Craggin’ Classic Series, powered by CAMP Technical Adventure Equipment and supported nationally by Adidas Terrex, Arc'Teryx, Sterling Rope, Black Diamond, and Rock & Ice, is the country's only nationally-touring, grassroots climbing festival. 

Whether you’re new to climbing or you’ve been roping up for years, there’s something for everyone at these events. Registration is now open for Smith Rock, the New River Gorge, Rumney, and Devil’s Lake—see the full schedule and don’t hesitate to sign up.

2020 US Ice Climbing Team Applications - now open!

Image courtesy UIAA

Image courtesy UIAA

USA Ice Climbing Competition Team Selection

As the US Member Federation to the UIAA, the American Alpine Club is proud to once again open applications to all athletes seeking to join the 2020 USA World Cup Ice Climbing Team.

Athlete participation in the World Cup and World Championship events will be determined by the AAC and the US team manager in the Fall of 2019. Up to 25 adults and 20 youth will be selected for the US team, and athletes will receive a status notification by September 15, 2019. The deadline to apply is 11:59 p.m. MT, August 31, 2019.

Apply Online Now!

Application Requirements

Note: This year, both youth and adults will apply using the same application.

  • Must have or be able to obtain a US passport before Dec 2019.

  • Since we are working to develop a team, priority will be given to athletes who are competing in more than one World Cup event, and who plan to compete in future years.

  • Athletes must turn 16 or older before the date of chosen world cup event(s) to participate.

  • We encourage people who are experienced competitors in any form of climbing to apply.

  • Athletes interested in being part of the US team and competing in any of the Ice Climbing World Cup & World Championship events must complete the application by 11:59 p.m. MT, August 31, 2019.

Team Benefits & Expectations

  • Athletes will receive a team uniform that they will be required to wear during any international competitions between July 2019 and June 2020.

  • Athletes will be expected to make their own travel arrangements once notified.

  • Athletes (and parents when the athlete is a minor) will be required to sign and abide by a code of conduct set by the AAC and the team manager. Athletes who violate the code of conduct will be warned and may be removed from the team at the discretion of the AAC and the team manager.

  • The AAC and the team manager will work to provide monetary and product support through fundraising and grants. Athletes will be expected to support these initiatives as well. 

  • Athletes are expected to behave as part of a team, giving and receiving support to and from their team members.

  • Athletes will act as American Alpine Club and US ambassadors to the domestic and international climbing communities and are expected to obey the rules and regulations of the host country in which they are climbing.

Competition Selection Policies

  • Selection to the USA Ice Climbing team does not guarantee a spot at any competition.

  • In the event that participants are only competing in either Speed or Difficulty (and not both) the AAC will select enough athletes to be able to field a team consisting of 8 men and 8 women for the Speed portion and 8 men and 8 women for the Difficulty portion.

  • If there are not enough available team members to fill the quota at a competition, non-team athletes may apply to compete and will be selected by the AAC and the team manager.

  • The USA can send up to 8 men and 8 women in each of Difficulty (Lead) and Speed to each World Cup event.

  • There are three age categories for youth competitors.  U16, U19, and U21. Age guidelines will be released by the UIAA.

Need a little more inspiration? Meet last year’s athletes!

Announcing: Our 2019 Live Your Dream Grant Winners

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We’re thrilled to congratulate the winners of our 2019 Live Your Dream Grant!

The Live Your Dream grant, powered by The North Face, is designed to help every-day adventurers take their abilities to the next level. It is about personal progression. It is about supporting each other; getting out there to push our individual limits; taking our skills to the next proving grounds, wherever that may be. The purpose of this grant is to support and promote unforgettable experiences for climbers—to dream big, to grow, and to inspire others.

We received a record number of applicants, making this year’s pool of Live Your Dream applications one of the most competitive yet, and we’ve made some hard choices to award a total of $55,700 to 122 recipients. This year’s winners include climbers looking to complete their first trad leads, climbers chasing cutting-edge first ascents, and everyone in between.

View the winners’ projects, then start dreaming up your own for next year! Applications will open again next February, 2020.

2019 Cornerstone Conservation Grant Now Accepting Applications

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Since 2011, the AAC has awarded nearly $205,000 to local climbing organizations (LCOs), land managers, nonprofits, and individuals for conservation projects through our Cornerstone Conservation Grant. Projects include building or improving trail networks to climbing areas; establishing new toilet facilities and signage at trailheads; and deploying a variety of community groups for clean-up and graffiti removal at local crags. Applications now open for the 2019 Cornerstone Conservation Grant

Climbers for Climate—AAC Takes Action!

WE HEARD YOU! Climbers care deeply about the issue of climate change and are concerned about its impact on our climbing landscapes, communities and outdoor recreation economy. It is time that we address this direct threat to the climbing community and engage in coordinated action to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Learn more about the AAC’s stance. Add your voice to the fight! This month only when you join the AAC you receive a free Climbers for Climate change t-shirt.

Join AAC at the Summer '19 OR Show


Coming to Outdoor Retailer? Or just live in the Front Range and want to join the fun? 

During the Snow Show, we’ll be in the “High Altitude Den”, booth 32083-UL. Come by for AAC goodies, to have your burning questions about the Club answered by staff, or just to say hi!

Our education team will be delivering Know the Ropes workshops and facilitating Universal Belay Card certifications. This year we are also thrilled to have artist Lynn Mandzuik create a LIVE painting over the course of the first two days of OR. The resulting piece will be raffled off during the “Afternoon Buzz” on Wednesday, June 19 at 3pm.

Battle of the Bands
Tuesday June 18, Your Mom’s House, 8pm: 
This legendary event is back! Join us for a night of live music featuring bands from the Outdoor Industry—including Black Diamond, Cascade Designs, La Sportiva and more. Tickets are $5 in advance, available online or at our booth, or $10 at the door.

POW & AAC Party at the newly opened SPOT Bouldering Gym in Denver
Wednesday, June 19
5:00pm - 10pm
The Spot
1235 Delaware Street
Denver CO 80204
$10 cover includes day pass to climb, beer and access to food trucks. This event with highlight the work that AAC and POW are going together to fight climate change. Tickets at the door. All proceeds benefit AAC and POW.

2019 Membership Through the Lens Photo Contest

Calling all photographers!

We're teaming up with Rab to feature your work in our annual Guidebook to Membership’s Membership Through the Lens section. Not only could you see your photo next to names like Keith Ladzinski and Krystle Wright in the 2019 Guidebook, but the lucky winner will receive a Rab Kinetic Alpine jacket!

Please submit only photos you've taken, not photos taken of you. You may submit up to 3 photos through the form linked below. Deadline is May 15. The following week, we’ll share a Facebook album with our 10-15 favorite photo choices and allow our audience to weigh in on the winning photo by liking and commenting. The winner will be announced on May 24th.

We can't wait to see your shots!

2019 Hall of Mountaineering Excellence Inductees Announced

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We’re stoked to celebrate our 2019 Hall of Mountaineering Excellence Inductees! These are folks who have had a significant impact on climbing history through contributions in mountain culture, environmental responsibility, and community. 

Our first inductee is climber, conservationist and author Laura Waterman, who founded The Waterman Fund grants program to support trail work, stewardship, education, and research. She’s pictured above with her late husband, Guy, in 1970. Photo: Waterman Collection.


Our next inductee is Ken Yager, a climbing guide and founder of the Yosemite Climbing Association. In 2004, he started Facelift, a non-profit responsible for removing over 1 million pounds of garbage from the park. The event continues to be the largest volunteer cleanup in park history. Photo, above, by Michael Brown.

Finally, we’re honored to present the H. Adams Carter Literary Award to Kelly Cordes. Kelly has made it his mission to maximize outdoor time. This focus strongly influences his climbing, which includes new alpine-style routes in Alaska, Peru, Patagonia and Pakistan. He’s also been known to put pen to paper, writing many climbing articles, serving as longtime editor of the AAJ, and authoring the book, “The Tower: A Chronicle of Climbing and Controversy on Cerro Torre.” Photo, below, by Kevin Cooper.

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We’ll be officially inducting these amazing individuals into the Hall of Mountaineering Excellence at our Excellence in Climbing Celebration in Golden, CO on June 1—get your tickets!

Mark Your Calendars: Excellence in Climbing Celebration Returns, Revamped


Kick off the start of the climbing season! June 1, the community will gather in the home of the American Alpine Club for a festival celebrating all things climbing. Complete with carnival games, tours of the American Mountaineering Museum, an Open Air Vendor Village, food trucks and local beverages — the Excellence in Climbing Celebration has something for everyone! The highlight is inducting inspirational climbing heroes into the Hall of Mountaineering Excellence (H.o.M.E.). The 2019 honorees will be announced soon!

Check it out and get your tickets today.

Announcing: our 2019 Research Grants!


We're proud to announce our 2019 Research Grant recipients! This year, we're awarding more than $16,000 to researchers pursuing scientific endeavors in the mountains.

From studying the effects of glacier tourism on the Juneau Icefield to building a collaborative climbing management strategy in Ten Sleep, the projects our researchers are embarking on are going to make positive change—learn more in our press release.

These grants are powered by National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Ridgeline Venture Law and supported by Fourpoints Bar and KAVU

Photo courtesy of 2018 Research Grant Recipient Martí March Salas, who studied the effects of climbing on Mediterranean cliff vegetation.

2019 Jones Grant & Live Like Liz Winners Announced

Photo courtesy Shawna Paoli.

Photo courtesy Shawna Paoli.

We're thrilled to announce the 2nd Annual Jones Snowboards BC Adventure Grant and Live Like Liz Award winners!

The 2019 BC Adventure Grant winner is Graeme Greenwood of Bozeman, MT. Graeme and a partner will attempt a unique traverse and peak descent in the Greater Yellowstone region. The 2019 Live Like Liz Grant winner is Mt. Baker local Shawna Paoli. Shawna and partners will attempt a splitboard powered circumnavigation of Mt Baker.

Huge thanks to all that applied! We were blown away by the quality of proposals. Inspired? Our Live Your Dream grant is still open.

Congrats to our 2019 McNeill-Nott Award Winners!

Rebecca Ross. Photo courtesy Rebecca Ross.

Rebecca Ross. Photo courtesy Rebecca Ross.

Lindsey Hamm. Photo by Dan Gambino.

Lindsey Hamm. Photo by Dan Gambino.

Congratulations to our 2019 McNeill-Nott awardees, Rebecca Ross and Lindsey Hamm! This grant, supported by Mountain Hardwear, honors Sue Nott and her partner Karen McNeill by funding amateur climbers exploring new routes or unclimbed peaks with small and lightweight teams.

Rebecca and her team plan to summit the three highest peaks in Mongolia, located specifically in the Mongol Altai Range, including Khuiten Peak (4,374m). the highest point in Mongolia. The Altai Tavan Bogd National Park, where these three peaks are accessed, is pristine with a variety of interesting flora and fauna. Rebecca chose these particular peaks because of its remoteness, untouched beauty, and strong cultural presence with the Mongolian Nomadic Eagle Hunters.

Lindsey and her team will travel to Zanskar, India in search of big wall style climbing and maybe some mixed climbing routes. Last year, weather prevented her from completing her full objective in the region, and she remains amped to explore and learn even more about the local, culture, community, and climbing opportunities.

Inspired? Find out more about our grants.

AAC Celebrates International Women's Day


The AAC wouldn’t be the Club we are today without the work of womxn of all walks of life. Today, this month, and year-round, we celebrate the accomplishments—both on and off the climbing wall—of female and non-binary climbers, mountaineers, and advocates. Thank you all for being here.


  • We're running women's specific clinics at every 2018 Craggin' Classic event.

  • We're featuring women on the cover of all three of our publications.

  • We're celebrating women in positions of leadership in the organization.

  • We're running women's-specific grants, like the Live Like Liz Grant and McNeill-Knott Award.

  • We're featuring ascents by women in our Cutting Edge podcast.

  • We supported the Sexual Harassment in Climbing Survey.

  • We support women's initiatives by partnering with groups like Brown Girls Climb, Outdoor Women's Alliance, and FlashFoxy.

  • We're working a a chapter-by-chapter level to support other local women's events and initiatives.

  • The American Alpine Journal is working toward telling more women's stories this year.

  • We're actively working to have an even gender split in our member base that reflects the demographics of the climbing community.

  • Do you have ideas? Aspects of all this that we could be doing better? Contact us! Your feedback and input inspires us to create change, and we’re grateful for all of it.

House Passes Historic Public Lands Package


The American Alpine Club is psyched to share that the Natural Resource Management Act (S.47) just passed the House in a landslide vote of 363 to 62! The historic lands package passed the Senate on February 12 by a margin of 92 to 8 and is now headed to the Presidents desk where it can be signed into law. This major victory for the climbing and outdoor recreation community includes legislation like the permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, an important conservation funding mechanism that supports climbing areas accross the country. The bipartisan package also includes important lands bills such as:

  •  The Emery County Public Lands Management Act

  • Methow Valley Mineral Withdrawal

  • Emigrant Crevice Withdrawal – Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act

  • Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area Act

  • Oregon Wildlands Act

  • Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Conservation

  • The California Desert Protection and Recreation Act

  • Every Kid Outdoors

  • 21st Century Service Corps Act

This is a major win for the outdoor recreation community, which has invested significant time and energy into advocating the package’s support with lawmakers. The American Alpine Club is proud to have paid a supporting role in getting the bill through Congress. None of this would have been possible without your support! Hundreds of you took the time to let your representatives and Senators know that this package of bills is important, and your voice was heard.

We’ll share more in the coming weeks as the package makes its way over to the final stop, the President’s desk. In the meantime, it would mean a lot if you let your lawmakers know you’re psyched about the decisions they made and shared a little stoke for their effort. We’ve made it easy for you to share a thank you and encourage Congress to keep supporting public lands in future efforts. Please take a minute to thank Congress for their support of the Natural Resource Management Act!

Annual Online Auction Now Open

The 2019 Online Auction is now open! You could take home a gorgeous set of mountainscape mugs handmade by Uzumati Ceramics, an original Chouinard ice hammer, a dawn wall print autographed by photographer Corey Rich, a limited-edition AAC Suunto watch, or a whole lot more gear, art, etc. 100 % of proceeds benefit the club. Don't miss out!

On a related note, tickets to our Annual Benefit Dinner in San Francisco, CA are selling fast. Get yours by March 1st.

UIAA World Cup Ice Climbing Finals Draws Record-Breaking Crowds

Photo: Ben Nelson of  Huck Adventures

Photo: Ben Nelson of Huck Adventures

On its inaugural stage in downtown Denver, CO, the 2019 UIAA World Cup Ice Climbing Finals broke international records as the largest-ever audience for a World Cup Ice Climbing event and received a record number of online views with hundreds of thousands more tuning in to watch the competition’s live stream.

The two-day World Cup Ice Climbing Finals held in Civic Center Park, February 23 - 24, recorded a live crowd of more than 25,000, making the Denver World Cup Finals not only the most watched World Cup Ice Climbing event in the Tour’s history, but also one of the most well-spectated climbing events of all time.

Hosted and produced by the American Alpine Club, the event’s attendance more than doubled the original expectations. American Alpine Club CEO, Phil Powers, had never witnessed such a massive audience for a climbing event: “We exceeded our attendance goals for the full weekend before the end of the first day. People were blown away by the athleticism and intensity of the competition — I have no doubt many new ice climbers were created this weekend.”

Read the full report here.

UIAA World Cup Ice Climbing Finals Begin Today in Denver


We’re stoked to be kicking off the UIAA World Cup Ice Climbing Finals here in Denver today (Friday, Feb. 22)!

The new North American tour stop will serve as the 2018/2019 World Cup Ice Climbing Finals in which over 100 athletes from 18 countries around the world will compete for the overall World Cup in both Lead and Speed categories.

The 2019 event is the first time the Ice Climbing World Tour has come to Denver, Colorado. The weekend event is being held in Denver’s Civic Center Park and is free to the public. Come for the climbing, stay for the Barbagazi Winter Festival featuring games & activities for everyone: Ice Maze, Obstacle Course, Fat Bike Course, Axe Throwing, Live Music, Ice Bar, Food Trucks, Fire Pits and more!

Come down to Denver and join the fun if you can'; the event is totally FREE! If you can’t make it, you can still stay in the loop by watching the competition live.