The AAC's Cornerstone Conservation grant powered by REI creates healthy climbing landscapes, promotes respect for the places we climb, and empowers local climbing communities.

The Cornerstone Conservation Grant has grown out of a decade of American Alpine Club underwriting and volunteerism. Past AAC projects include new trails and human-waste management policies at Utah's Castleton Tower and Indian Creek climbing areas, a new human-waste management system in Grand Teton National Park, new trails and waste-management systems in Rocky Mountain National Park's Lumpy Ridge climbing area, and the Clean Mountain Can program on Denali.

Grants range from $1,000 to $8,000, depending on the size and scope of project.

Map Of Previous Cornerstone Conservation Grant Projects

Projects must:

  • Have measurable, high impact yet achievable goals
  • Incorporate best practices for sustainability
  • Improve land conservation and/or climber practices
  • Demonstrate reduced impact from climber practices
  • Demonstrate a plan for long term success
  • Engage members of the local climbing community, such as local AAC chapters and local REI stores.
  • Have local land manager endorsement
  • Have local AAC Section endorsement
  • Have a realistic budget
  • Utilize matching agency, local funds or Access Fund grant money

Grant Recipient Responsibilities:

  • 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.
  • Within two months of project completion, all grant recipients are required to submit to the AAC a written report (including photos) for possible inclusion in AAC publications and/or posting on the AAC website. Please alert the AAC if your project dates change. Failure to submit a report will result in applicant being ineligible for future AAC grants.
  • Any photos submitted with a report may be reproduced in any manner the AAC desires for use on the AAC website or marketing materials. The AAC will have the right to use photos submitted with a report on the AAC website or marketing materials.
  • Include an acknowledgment of support by the AAC in all publications or presentations related to the supported project.

Please note that we coordinate closely with the Access Fund in reviewing grant proposals and awarding funding.

For this year, we are not funding projects whose primary goal is land acquisition or fixed anchor replacement. We do believe that these projects have a valuable contribution for the climbing community and may be able to support them in other ways including the joint Access Fund / AAC Anchor Replacement Fund. If you have questions about these types of projects and how the AAC can support you, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].

The AAC accepts applications every year between June 15 and August 15. Applicants will be advised on or before September 30. Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.