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Live Your Dream Grants
All climbers have dreams. Let us help you live yours. The American Alpine Club's Live Your Dream grant, powered by The North Face, is designed to help you, the every-day adventurer, take your abilities to the next level.

The purpose of the Live Your Dream grant is to support and promote unforgettable experiences for climbers—specifically, experiences that provide the skills and confidence to realize one's climbing ambitions; to dream big, to grow as a climber, and to inspire others. The grant seeks to fund individuals of all ages and experience levels, as well as a range of climbing disciplines--from bouldering to sport & trad climbing, ice and alpine climbing to ski mountaineering, peak running, exploration and everything in between. We encourage you to uncover your ambitions, dream big, and send us an application.

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Grants Management System provided by WizeHive

The two-month application period opens February 1st and closes April 1st. Winners will be announced by May 15th. Grant awards vary depending on the prospective project, but fall in the $200 to $1,000 range. As of 2016, a fee of $5 for current members and $20 for non-members is required to submit an application.



SELECTION CRITERIA:

1) The project must accurately demonstrate a progression in skills and experience and outline a specific obtainable yet personally difficult goal. The committee will consider the individual's experience level, which must be appropriate for the proposed objective.

2) Membership in the American Alpine Club is required. Non-members may apply, however membership must be acquired for funds to be awarded. A fee of $5 for current AAC members and $20 non-members is required to submit an application.

3) Projects involving climbers who are supported financially by corporate sponsors will not be considered. However, proposals from “amateur" climbers who have received in-kind (e.g., gear) corporate support for the proposed project will be considered, but support levels must be disclosed.

4) Applications are considered for projects that occur within one year of the application due date. All funds must be used within one year of application due date or all funds must be returned to The American Alpine Club.

5) Trip reports are required within two-months of returning. Creative trip reports highlighting the AAC and/or the Live Your Dream grant are encouraged.

6) Grants awards range from $200 to $1000.


EXAMPLES OF PAST GRANT PROJECTS:

Ryan Wichelns received a 2015 Live Your Dream grant to travel to Denali National Park in Alaska to climb the desolate, airy traverse from Mt. Silverthrone (13,220'), through the Tripyramid Peaks, to Mt. Brooks (11,940'). Having worked hard to build his skills on both rock and ice in the Northeastern ranges of the Adirondacks and Whites, and with a guided ascent of Mt. Rainier polishing out his skill set, Ryan was ready to put it all to the test and "go somewhere." Ryan's dream project was the culmination and application of skills such has expedition planning, long-term backcountry travel and camping, technical mountaineering, and route finding on a project that was bigger and badder than anything he had previously experienced. See Ryan's stellar on-line trip report.

Paul Koubek is a Yosemite climber. His climbing career has progressed from big wall novice to Valley veteran with long term goals of climbing big peaks in the greater ranges--specifically, peaks in the Ruth Gorge of Alaska. However, Paul has little ice climbing experience and has never been tested on vertical ice. To reach his ultimate goal of climbing Alaska classics "Ham and Eggs" and "Shaken Not Stirred," Paul was awarded a Live Your Dream grant to develop his skills in Ouray during a two-week ice climbing trip, specifically aiming to send "Gold Rush" (WI4) and "Stairway to Heaven" (WI4).

Kevin Ziechmann received a Live Your Dream grant in 2012 to travel from the Southeast to Smith Rock, Oregon to test his sport climbing skills in a new and unknown theatre, with the specific goal of sending the local classic, Spank the Monkey (5.12d), which at the time was above his ability level. Kevin made a video trip report which is one of the best we have received.

Miles Moser, Amy Ness, and Hugo Perez--all three extremely experienced climbers--looked to push their skills to the ultimate level by attempting to establish a second free route up the East Face of the Central Tower of Torres del Paine, Chile. Of the nine routes currently up the Tower, only one has been freed previously. Myles and his team planned a ground up, capsule style alpine approach. This dream, funded by a Live Your Dream grant, consisted of the hardest route in the toughest environment the team had ever endured.

Michelle Kinny was a gym climber looking to advance her skills and transition beyond her indoor experience and become a competent, outdoor lead climber. She dreamt of embarking on a journey that would combine climbing skill development, exposure to new cultures, and community service. Michelle was awarded a Live Your Dream grant to travel to South America to build her outdoor lead climbing skills in Columbia, Ecuador, and Peru. Along the way, she planned to volunteer in Santa Marta, Columbia with Fundacion Mariposas Amarillas; in Cumbaya, Ecuador through FEVI Ecuador; and in Huaraz, Peru with Seeds of Hope.

Christopher Marshall was awarded a Live Your Dream grant to embark upon a ski-mountaineering expedition to the Neacola Mountains, a sub-range of the Aleutian Mountains in Alaska. His dream was to establish first ascents and descents of unclimbed peaks surrounding the “Slingshot Glacier" with objectives that include both technical alpine routes and ski descents. With the ultimate goal of taking his climbing and skiing into the greater ranges, this trip was designed as first step in experiencing the challenges of big mountain expeditions. Based on his research, this area has seen little or no previous climbing or skiing traffic.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Is membership in the American Alpine Club required to apply? No. However, membership is required in order to receive a grant award. If your project is selected, you would be required to join the Club in order to receive funds. Additionally, a $20 application fee is required for non-members to apply; for current members it is $5.

Is there an age restriction? What if I'm not an alpinist? What if I only boulder? or sport climb? What if I'm a beginner? or expert? The Live Your Dream grant is the AAC grant for all ages, all ability levels and all climbing disciplines--including ski mountaineering, peak bagging, mountain running, or any other challenging endeavor you can dream up. You could be a 50 year old boulderer or a 30 year old aid climber so long as your proposed project demonstrated a progression in skills and difficulty from your current experience. You must be a U.S. citizen, however, to apply.

Should I apply individually or as a team? Live Your Dream grants award individuals only. If you are attempting a project as part of a team, your teammates may apply separately.

How much time do I have to go on my trip? What if my trip is delayed or I change my objective? Grant money must be used within one calendar year of the grant award date. If your trip is postponed for one reason or another, it is your responsibility to contact the Grant Manager (grants@americanalpineclub.org) to seek an extension or else you must return the funds. If you change your objective it is your responsibility to contact the Grant Manager to seek approval or else you must return the funds. We understand that circumstances change, dates get altered, partners get injured, etc.

What happens if I fail to achieve my objective? Do I have to return the funds after the trip? No. Failing is a part of pushing your boundaries. The point of the Live Your Dream grant is to get you thinking big, dreaming bigger, and taking your abilities to the next level. We are psyched so long as you are out there trying something hard, new and inspiring.

Can I apply for the Live Your Dream grant more than once? You may submit one application per individual per year.


RESPONSIBILITIES OF GRANT RECIPIENT:

If for any reason the project is canceled or significantly changed, awarded funds must be returned to the AAC in full. Please contact the AAC office if your proposal changes.

If, after a grant is awarded, additional funding is obtained and the grant funds are no longer needed, or if a project is “over funded," the recipient is asked to return all surplus funds to the AAC. Also, if after the grant is awarded a corporate sponsorship is awarded to the project, all funds from the AAC must be returned.

Within two months of returning, all grant recipients must submit to the AAC a project report including photos (this can be written, a video project, essay, photo essay, etc.) for possible inclusion in AAC/TNF publications and/or posting on the AAC/TNF website. Points are awarded for creativity! Failure to submit expedition report will result in applicant being ineligible for future AAC grants.

Any photos of the expedition team or individuals submitted with an expedition report may be reproduced in any manner the AAC or TNF desires for use on the AAC/TNF website or marketing materials. The AAC & TNF will have the right to use photos submitted with a project report on the AAC/TNF website or marketing materials.

Grant recipients agree to act as American Alpine Club Ambassadors. The role of an Ambassador means you mention your AAC support at slide shows and events when speaking about the expedition; you may be asked to give a presentation on the project at the AAC's annual meeting or other events; and you express a commitment to the AAC's mission.

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Photo ©Ken Etzel