Safeguarding mountain environments

Our planet’s mountains and wild terrain provide endless opportunities for adventure, exploration and inspiration. However, our fragile mountain environments are experiencing significant impacts due to overuse and a changing climate. From the Himalayas to the Wind River Range in Wyoming, climbers experience these impacts first hand-- routes are disappearing, snow is melting, and the high alpine is losing its unique character. The changes we see in the mountains provide some of the most visible evidence of the threats that face our planet.

For more than a century, the AAC has advanced scientific exploration and conservation of the world’s greatest mountain ranges and polar regions. Check out the grants and programs the Club has to offer:


AAC Research Grants: We support young researchers pursuing scientific endeavors in mountains and crags around the world. We fund projects that contribute vital knowledge of climbing landscapes, enrich our understanding of global climber impacts and support and improve the health and sustainability of mountain environments and habitats.

To learn more about our Research Grant Program and how to apply, check out the main page.


AAC’s Cornerstone Conservation Grant:The Cornerstone Conservation Grant has grown out of a decade of American Alpine Club underwriting and volunteerism with a goal of supporting healthy climbing landscapes, promoting respect for the places we climb, and empowering local climbing communities.

Past AAC projects include new trails and human-waste management policies at Utah's Castleton Tower and Indian Creek climbing areas, removing graffiti in the southeast, new trails and waste-management systems in Rocky Mountain National Park's Lumpy Ridge climbing area, and the Clean Mountain Can program on Denali.

For more information, check out our Cornerstone Conservation Grant page.


David Brower Award: The David R. Brower Award, created in 1991, is an annual award recognizing leadership and commitment to conservation and the preservation of mountain regions worldwide. The awardee, whose active personal role deserves public recognition, has made an important difference as a pathfinder, innovator and contributor who has motivated others to take action.

Check out the past Brower Award winners here.


Sustainable Summits Initiative: Human impacts, both direct and indirect, are having tangible negative consequences on popular mountain peaks around the world. Direct impacts include overuse, pollution and social problems. Indirect impacts are concentrated in the climate change sector, and include increased rock fall, heavily disturbed ecosystems and receding glaciers.The Sustainable Summits Initiative is a venue for the international climbing community to convene, discuss these issues and develop solutions. 

Check out AAC's past involvement on the Sustainable Summits Initiative here

The Sustainable Summits webpage can be found here.