*Information below is from the 2019 Celebration. Stay tuned for announcements about 2020!

Kick off the summer 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 climbing workshops, carnival games, tours of the American Mountaineering Museum, an open air vendor village, artist market, food trucks and local beverages—the Excellence in Climbing Celebration has something for everyone!

The highlight is inducting inspirational climbing heroes, Ken Yager and Laura Waterman, into the Hall of Mountaineering Excellence. And to cap it all off acclaimed author and climber Kelly Cordes will be presenting!

2019 Hall of Mountaineering Excellence

Two highly accomplished climbers will be inducted into the Hall of Mountaineering Excellence. Inductees come from all disciplines; mountaineering, rock, ice and mixed. Inductees have had a significant impact on climbing history, but have also made contributions of meaning in other areas relating to the mountains and their vibrant communities. The multi-dimensional inductees have made lasting contributions in the areas of culture, environmental responsibility, community, the arts and sciences—ultimately making the world a better place. And now we celebrate the 2019 inductees and their legacies!
Photo: Ken Hopper

Photo: Ken Hopper

Laura Waterman - As a climber, conservationist and author, Laura Waterman climbs and writes about the mountains. Together with her late husband, Guy, the Watermans’ authored books covering climbing, hiking, environmental ethics, and mountain history. In 2002, Laura founded The Waterman Fund grants program to support trail work, stewardship, education, and research.


Ken Yager - Ken Yager, a climbing guide and founder of the Yosemite Climbing Association loves Yosemite. In 2004, he started the 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.

2019 H. Adams Carter Literary AWArd

cordes - castelton IMG_0952 (sonja bjornsen photo).JPG

The H. Adams Carter Literary Award was established to recognize excellence in climbing literature by North American writers. Recipients of the award have contributed extensively and over many years to mountain and climbing literature.

Kelly Cordes - Kelly Cordes 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.”

Event Schedule

3pm - 7pm: Block Party

  • Carnival games including dunk tank and mechanical bull, open air vendor village, artist market, food trucks (Wheels on Fire Pizza and Ba-Nom-a-Nom), Elevation Beer Co and Upslope Brewing beer, Golden Moon Distillery cocktails, raffle, and silent auction

  • Climbing workshops with the AAC’s Education Team

  • Tours of the Mountaineering Museum

  • Kids under 10 get in FREE!

6pm - 7pm: Patron Reception

  • Cocktail reception with a VIP behind the scenes tour of the AAC's Museum and Library and locally crafted treats from Picaflor

  • Open to Patron Ticket purchasers

7:30pm - 9pm: Presentations

  • Honoring the 2019 Hall of Mountaineering Excellence inductees: Ken Yager and Laura Waterman

  • Presentation: Kelly Cordes, acclaimed climber and writer

  • Live auction

Ticket Options

Block Party Only Ticket - $20

  • Includes access to the Block Party, climbing workshops, tour of the Mountaineering Museum, plus 2 drink tickets

  • Kids under 10 get in FREE!

Block Party AND Presentations - $50

  • Includes access to the Block Party and Presentations including Kelly Cordes keynote

  • Dinner, 2 drink and 3 game tickets

  • $33 is tax deductible

Patron Supporter - $300

  • An easy way to support the Museum and Library, the Patron Supporter is an opportunity for you to help preserve and share climbing history.

  • Includes access to the Block Party, Presentations, and Patron Reception.

  • Also includes dinner, 2 drink and 5 game tickets, slideshow recognition, and VIP seating for presentations.

  • $270 is tax deductible

Why We Gather


While it’s an opportunity to celebrate, the Excellence in Climbing evening also serves to raise funds vital to the two organizations in the United States charged with preserving climbing history: The Henry S. Hall American Alpine Library and the Bradford Washburn American Mountaineering Museum. Established in 1916, the AAC Library has long been a launchpad for expeditions, a place to share stories, and a resource to inspire the future and protect the past. With the addition of the American Mountaineering Museum in 2009, these artifacts found a home where anyone — from the most seasoned Everest climber to the third-grader with her first harness — can soak in the stories of the past.

Together the AAC Library and American Mountaineering Museum keep our mountaineering history alive by preserving and sharing over 100,000 artifacts, photographs, publications and historical papers.

Event proceeds benefit the library and museum.

2019 Hall of Mountaineering Excellence Selection Committee

Thank you to these volunteers for giving their time and expertise to help identify and recognize the Hall of Mountaineering Excellence Inductees.

Chair: Charley Mace

Committee Members: Alison Osius, Libby Sauter, Michael Wejchert, Freddie Wilkinson

Supported By:

Non-Profit Partners:

Event Proceeds Benefit:


For more on sponsorship opportunities, please contact Heidi at [email protected]


We can’t make events like this happen without awesome volunteers! Find out more and sign up HERE.

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Please email Heidi at [email protected]

Press Room:

True Heroes of Climbing
"The word hero gets thrown around a lot in climbing. But as impressive as summiting K2 or bouldering V15 might be, the genuine heroes of climbing are those whose achievements help make the world a better place..." 

Women Are On The Rise In The Climbing World
"It was a giant stepping stone,” said Libby Sauter, the award recipient and also the keynote speaker of the night. Sauter is the youngest climber to be added to the Hall, and only one of five women in its history, since the club’s birth more than a century ago..."
-Gear Junkie.com

Banner photo: AAC member Luke Humphrey