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THE Climbing Grief FUND

What conversations are we turning away from? What might it look like for our climbing community to fully engage with its collective grief? How do we presence ourselves with survivors and offer resources for individuals to better integrate their grief. I think it’s a beautiful thing that climbing offers us—to be present with the complexity of choosing to risk and being in honest relationship with our fragility and mortality.
— Grief Fund Founder Madaleine Sorkin


The Climbing Grief Fund (CGF) evolves the conversation around grief and trauma in the climbing community and connects individuals to effective mental health professionals and resources.  

CGF is supporting our climbing community through:

  • Increasing accessibility to mental health support through individual therapy grants and a nationwide directory of mental health professionals that understand grief, trauma and climbing.

  • Destigmatizing the conversation around grief through the story archive video project—film coming Summer 2020.

  • Event outreach at Fall 2019 Craggin Classics.

  • Compiling and generating psycho-educational website content and resources. 

At the American Alpine Club, we know that climbing is an inherently dangerous undertaking. We feel the risk is outweighed by the strong expression of selfhood that comes from moving up rock, snow and ice, but danger and risk can lead to injury and loss. Every climber knows skinned knees and knuckles. We can take them for granted as part of the game and even brag about our minor injuries. However, climb enough and you can risk a physical injury severe enough to change your life. Climb enough and you can lose someone in a fall, or know someone who has. Climb enough and you can witness terrible events in the mountains when hostile weather suddenly moves in. 

People have intense emotional reactions to the unexpected.  Sometimes even witnessing trauma can greatly disturb our inner balance. The experience of the event can linger, unprocessed and can interfere with our life.

We hope that the resources compiled here support you or someone you love to build the conditions needed for better integration of the trauma or grief experienced.  

We hope that through increased visibility, education and professional support concerning mental health in climbing, particularly in regard to grief and trauma, that we are creating a climbing community better equipped to support one another on and off the rock.



Feel free to email us, or call the AAC office at 303-384-0110.
You can also follow along behind the scenes via our Instagram.