2018 Guidebook to Membership Story Contest

The AAC’s Guidebook to Membership is all about celebrating you—the members that make the Club great. This year, we want to hear your stories. How have you made a difference in your local climbing community? Did you finally send that long term project that previously scared the crap out of you? Have you connected with a new climbing partner through your involvement with the Club? Did you have a great experience at your Craggin’ Classic? We want to hear it all!

Live Your Dream Grant Opens

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This is your climbing club. This is your climbing grant.

The American Alpine Club’s Live Your Dream grant, powered by The North Face, is currently accepting applications for the 2018 grant cycle—and this year we're awarding over $70,000 for climbers like you to live your dream trip!
 
Since 2012, the AAC and The North Face have awarded nearly 400 every-day adventures with over $200,000 to help take their abilities to the next level. This grant is about personal progression—about supporting each other to push our limits. Be it transitioning out of the gym or establishing a first ascent in the greater ranges, the purpose of this grant is to support and promote unforgettable experiences for climbers—to dream big, to grow as a climber, and to inspire others.

The Live Your Dream grant is for individuals of all ages, all experience levels, and all climbing disciplines—from bouldering to big walls, alpinism to ski mountaineering, peak bagging to bolt clipping and everything in between.

Find more details and get your application in by March 31


The AAC is 20,000 Members Strong

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We’re proud to celebrate the 20,000 member milestone: 20,000 individual climbers believe supporting community, conservation, and education is a worthwhile investment. Woohoo! We asked 20 members to tell us about their dream climbs, their motivation, and how they give back—learn more about your fellow members here.

We're also offering a sweet Members with Benefits T-Shirt to anyone who joins or renews during the month of January, so there's never been a better time to join the community. 

We're grateful for every one of you!


2018 Cutting Edge Grant Recipients Announced

The AAC is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018 Cutting Edge Grant. This grant seeks to fund individuals planning expeditions to remote areas featuring unexplored mountain ranges, unclimbed peaks, difficult new routes, first free ascents, or similar world-class pursuits. Objectives featuring a low-impact style and leave-no-trace mentality are looked upon with favor.  For the 2018 grant cycle, the AAC received awarded $20,000 to four recipients:

Kurt Ross ($6,000) to visit a seldom traveled region within the eastern Pakistani
Karakoram to establish a first ascent on the unclimbed peak, Karmading Brakk via
the Lachit Valley. This 6000m peak is an untouched gem, so striking it certainly
would have been previously attempted had it not been for historically restrictive
military control in the area. With these military restricts lifted, and the government
currently granting permits to climbers, Kurt and his team are ready for action.

Alan Rousseau ($6,000) to attempt the remote north face of Chiling II (6400m), in
Zanskar-Kashmir- Kishtwar region of Himal India. With a difficult, mostly
unsupported approach and hard climbing at altitude, this objective represents a
step forward in Alan’s climbing and likely one of the harder north faces he and his
team have ever attempted.

Whitney Clark ($5,000) to lead an all-woman team to the Zanskar-Kashmir-
Kishtwar region of Himal India to attempt the main summit of Arjuna’s (6230m)
West Face. Their chosen route takes the team up a steep 1400m unclimbed buttress, which lies to the left of all current established routes. The peak is accessed via a complex icefall, followed by technical high-alpine climbing. It is their goal to climb the route free and operate in a fast, light ethic.

Ryan Johnson ($3,000) to travel to the Alaska Range to attempt the East Face of Mt. Hayes (4215m). Ryan attempted the line in 2013 but extreme cold and illness
shut down the expedition. The line on Hayes is primarily an ice hose, with a 600m
steep mixed section.

The Cutting Edge Grant is supported in part by Global Rescue, the world’s leading provider of integrated travel risk and evacuation memberships. CEG recipients are additionally awarded a one-year, full Global Rescue Membership—an upgrade to the standard AAC rescue coverage. Upgraded benefits include: $500,000 of rescue evacuation; repatriation back to the US; deployed Global Rescue Personnel; and more—a service intended to help AAC members climb hard and return home safely. For more information on Global Rescue and their memberships, visit: https://www.globalrescue.com/

View the full press release.

2018 Climbing Awards Announced

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We're delighted to announce the winners of the 2018 Climbing Awards honoring the most impactful climbers and conservationists within the North American climbing community. Among this year’s award honorees are big-wall free-solo pioneer Alex Honnold, teenage climbing prodigy Margo Hayes, and former US Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell.

Our Annual Climbing Awards are the longest running and most prestigious awards honoring climbing and conservation achievement in North America. The Awards recognize the most dedicated and prolific climbers of their generation as well as those who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to conservation issues.

Learn about this year's incredible cast of award winners. 


AAC Takes Action on National Monument Reductions

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After the December 4th, 2017 announcement by President Donald Trump to reduce and modify the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, our climbing community responded forcefully and quickly to oppose the decision.  Climbers joined Native American groups, conservation organizations, and many others to ensure that these treasured landscapes remain protected.  President Trump’s unprecedented actions constituted the largest reversal of federal land protection in the nation's history.

A variety of lawsuits have been filed to halt the changes to Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. Two of these lawsuits were filed by environmental and conservation groups to oppose the reduction and modification of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, designated by President Bill Clinton in 1996. The remaining three lawsuits are focused on preventing the reduction and modification of Bears Ears National Monument into two smaller units with different proclamation language. One of these lawsuits was filed by the five Native American tribes representing the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, and another was filed by an array of environmental and conservation groups, including our partners at the Sierra Club and the Wilderness Society. Our partners at the Access Fund have also filed, joining a lawsuit by Patagonia, Utah Dine Bikeyah, and others.

The AAC supports the Access Fund and other plaintiff organizations as they legally challenge the reduction and modification of both monuments, particularly Bears Ears, where the proclamation explicitly acknowledged the region’s outstanding recreational values, including “world class” rock climbing as a basis for designation. As the monument litigation proceeds, the AAC will submit an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief to make clear our opposition of the reduction and modification of the monuments. We also oppose any action by the administration aimed at weakening the efficacy of Antiquities Act as a means to conserve mountain environments and to protect opportunities for climbing.

Photo: Jay Dash

Photo: Jay Dash

The AAC is actively engaged with appropriate congressional representatives and administration officials to respond to the broader legislative attacks on the national monuments that, if passed, could be even more detrimental to Utah’s desert and mountain environments and the interests of climbers than the December 4th proclamations. Presently, these threats are in the form of two bills introduced in the House of Representatives shortly after the December 4th proclamations: the Shash Jaa National Monument and Indian Creek National Monument Act, and the Grand Staircase Escalante Enhancement Act. If passed, these bills would legislatively affirm the proclamations that reduced and modified Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, effectively ending any lawsuits over these reductions because it is generally acknowledged that Congress has full authority to reduce or eliminate national monuments.

The Shash Jaa National Monument and Indian Creek National Monument Act proposes to designate the two new smaller monuments Shash Jaa and Indian Creek. Unlike the original proclamation of Bears Ears National Monument, which explicitly recognized the importance of preserving rock climbing opportunities within the area, this bill makes no reference to climbing and only minimal reference to recreation in general. By legislatively affirming a new, smaller monument containing parts of what climbers know as Indian Creek, the bill would ensure the removal of national monument protections from roughly 40% of the climbing areas within Bears Ears. Furthermore, the Shash Jaa National Monument and Indian Creek National Monument Act, like the December 4th proclamation, ignores the will of millions of Americans who spoke out in favor of protecting the original Bears Ears National Monument. This legislation undoubtedly poses a greater, more permanent threat to this area than President Trump’s December 4th reduction and modification. Therefore, the AAC is working with partners and policy makers to oppose this bill.

A similar bill has been introduced in the House regarding the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The Grand Staircase-Escalante Enhancement Act proposes to transform the three smaller units created by the December 4th proclamation into three national monuments, and create a national park and preserve within one of those units. Any land of the former Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument outside the boundaries of these new monuments and park, however, would be declared open to sale, disposal, mineral and geothermal leasing, and mining. These acts pose a significant threat to our public lands and to this incredible region in particular. Consequently, the AAC and many other conservation groups oppose this bill.

These legislative attacks would prevent the re-establishment of both the original Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, should any of the lawsuits against the President’s actions succeed. This is because the arguments of these lawsuits center on the limits of executive authority, and if they succeed, only Congress would then have the power to establish these new, smaller monuments. The AAC is working to oppose these bills and to push for new legislation to restore protections for these incredible areas and to ensure the integrity of our climbing landscapes.

The AAC is committed to working in collaboration with our partners to address critical public policy issues facing America’s mountain environments, the interests of climbers, and outdoor recreation. We advocate nationally for keeping public lands pristine, wild, and open to human-powered recreation. All of us at the AAC find a deep meaning in climbing, and we are committed to advocating for climbers and working to ensure our nation’s laws provide for thriving outdoor communities, sustained by healthy mountain environments and vibrant climbing landscapes for generations to come.

Your contributions and membership to the Club help us continue the fight for our national monuments and climbing areas. Stay tuned for more updates from your policy team.


AAC's 2017 Recap

Hover over the yellow bubbles to learn more.

It's been quite a year here at the American Alpine Club, and we couldn't have done it without you. Your Craggin' Classic weekends, Sharp End downloads, letters to your representatives, lobbying efforts, research projects and grants and dreams— it all makes a difference. We're wrapping up 2017 feeling immense gratitude for all we've accomplished together and a whole lot of hope for everything to come. From all of us at the Club, thank you and happy holidays!


AAC & Jones Snowboards Team Up to Offer New Splitboarding Grants

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The American Alpine Club and Jones Snowboards are proud to announce two new grants that encourage human-powered exploration of the winter wilderness by motivated amateur backcountry snowboarders!

The Jones Backcountry Adventure Grant & the Jones Live Like Liz Award look to support multi-day splitboarding expeditions with strong exploratory and adventure components. The project objective may focus on a single descent/summit or a tour/traverse of a region. Each grant recipient will recieve a $1,500 cash award plus a Jones splitboard, skins and backcountry touring backpack.

The Jones Live Like Liz Award is open to only female applicants and honors Liz Daley, a Jones ambassador and aspiring mountain guide who was killed in an avalanche accident in Argentina in 2014.

The applications are accepted now through January 30th, 2018. Jones Snowboards company founder Jeremy Jones and Jones brand managers will review all applications and select the recipients. Applicants must be AAC members. 

Learn all the details and submit your application here. You can also check out the Jones blog.


On Sale Now: Gift Membership Packages

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Looking for that special something for your partner in climb? We're here to help.

The perfect gift starts at just $64 and includes all of the benefits of being an AAC member (including up to $12,500 in Global Rescue coverage), as well as a 1 year subscription to the best climbing publication available, Alpinist Magazine. You'll also get an AAC Trucker Hat and the most recent American Alpine Club annual publications. Total retail value is $205.00!

Learn more about AAC membership here and grab your gift membership package today


AAC Statement on National Monument Reductions

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On Monday, December 4, 2017, President Donald Trump signed two proclamations reducing and modifying Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

This drastic and possibly illegal action will impact climbing in southeastern Utah, and has serious ramifications for the Antiquities Act, one of our most valuable conservation laws. The American Alpine Club is shocked by the scale of these reductions and modification, and we cannot support this attack.

The decision to shrink and modify these monuments ignores the millions of Americans who spoke out in favor of keeping them intact, and stands in sharp contrast to our nation’s bipartisan legacy of conservation. The announcement to reduce and modify Bears Ears disregards the years of effort by Native Americans, conservation groups, and the outdoor recreation community to protect this treasured landscape. The American Alpine Club worked alongside our partners at the Access Fund and Outdoor Alliance to advocate for this monument and to ensure that climbing in the area was recognized as a legitimate and appropriate activity. The original proclamation to establish the Bears Ears National Monument did explicitly recognize climbing as one of many “world class outdoor recreation opportunities,” but the new proclamation fails to acknowledge climbing at all. In other words, climbing is not a priority in the new versions of these monuments.

The redrawn monument boundaries create two separate and smaller areas within the Bears Ears monument: Shash Jáa, including the Bears Ears buttes, and Indian Creek, including a number of this iconic destination’s crags. While this impacts all climbing in the area, the modification results in loss of national monument protection in roughly 40% of climbing areas within the former Bears Ears boundaries, including Valley of the Gods, Harts Draw, and Indian Creek areas like the Wall and the Cliffs of Insanity.

The AAC’s concern is not limited to the cliffs and desert towers. We advocate for healthy climbing landscapes and the ecosystems that surround them. We are deeply concerned that these new national monument boundaries could lead to irreparable damage to the integrity and character of climbing in this region.

Nationwide, 71% of climbing is on public lands. The implications of these attacks for climbing areas across the country deeply concern us. Most national monuments are established by the President under the authority of the Antiquities Act of 1906, which grants the President the power to declare national monuments. The Antiquities Act is a vital conservation tool, utilized by past presidents of both parties, and has led to the protection of some of our country’s greatest climbing areas. These include Devils Tower National Monument and Colorado National Monument, as well as many national parks that began as national monuments, such as Grand Teton, Joshua Tree, and Zion national parks.

The reduction of Bears Ears & Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments represents an unprecedented assault on the Antiquities Act and a threat to climbing nationwide, and the AAC is evaluating our options for litigation or other actions. The AAC will continue our commitment to protecting our national monuments and public lands, preserving the health of our vertical playgrounds, and ensuring the vitality of the Antiquities Act.

How you can help: 

Write to your member of Congress and let them know how these monument reductions impact you.

Tweet at Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and tell him how you feel about these monument reductions. Here is a suggested tweet: Decision on monuments will impact climbing and the future of our public lands, @SecretaryZinke! We #StandWithBearsEars and need to #SaveGrandStaircase. #ClimbersForBearsEars @americanalpine

Support the American Alpine Club’s efforts to protect our climbing landscapes.

Support the campaign by Friends of Cedar Mesa and Duct Tape Then Beer to build a Bears Ears Education Center and ensure visitors learn to respect and protect this landscape.


AAC Launches Cutting Edge Podcast

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We're excited to announce the launch of The Cutting Edge: Voices from the American Alpine Journal. The new monthly podcast features in-depth, tightly focused interviews with climbers who've just returned from ground-breaking ascents all over the world. 

The first episode features Will Stanhope, interviewed by AAJ Associate Editor Chris Kalman, giving us the lowdown on an incredible linkup in the Bugaboos with Leo Houlding. 

The Cutting Edge is available now at iTunes, Soundcloud, Google Play, Stitcher, and other sites. Special thanks to Wyoming climber and musician Jason Tyler Burton for the original sound effects and tunes he created for this show.

Enjoy and if you like what you hear, please share!

 

Research Grant Application Period Now Open

Photo courtesy of 2017 Research Grant recipient Dr. Alison Criscitiello, whose project involved drilling an ice core on northern Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, in the Canadian high Arctic, to investigate Arctic Ocean sea-ice variability and climate and pollutant histories.

Photo courtesy of 2017 Research Grant recipient Dr. Alison Criscitiello, whose project involved drilling an ice core on northern Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, in the Canadian high Arctic, to investigate Arctic Ocean sea-ice variability and climate and pollutant histories.

Calling all scientists!

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

The 2017-2018 application cycle is now open. Check out past researchers' projects and learn more about the application process, then download the application here. Deadline for grant application submission is January 15, 2018

 

Yosemite National Park Implements Road and Campground Improvements

Photo: AAC member Andrew Burr

Photo: AAC member Andrew Burr

We're thrilled to see the suggested improvements to Camp 4 that the Club advocated for in the Merced River Plan come to fruition! Climbers, you will have more parking spaces, more campsites, and more bathrooms with showers. Learn more below.

Improvements underway along Northside Drive and Camp 4 Campground

Yosemite National Park is working to implement several roadway and campground improvements within Yosemite Valley. Extensive work is being conducted on Northside Drive, the road leading from Yosemite Village to Yosemite Falls and toward the park exits. Significant work is also being conducted at Camp 4, a popular campground in Yosemite Valley. The current work is expected to be completed bythis winter , and compliments the work that was completed earlier this summer. 

On Northside Drive, work is being done to repave the road and add curbing for safety and resource protection. Work is also being done to realign portions of the road and do some sewer and utility work. The work on this portion of the road is in addition to work completed earlier this year which included a total redesign of the Yosemite Village Parking Area (formerly known as Camp 6), installation of a roundabout, and the repaving of the road from Stoneman Bridge to Yosemite Village. The total cost of the roadwork is approximately $14 million, coming from Federal Highways Administration, and the Recreational Fee Program.

In addition to the benefits of improving traffic flow and delineating visitor parking, the road projects include 1.7 acres of wetland restoration in an ecologically important and sensitive area of Yosemite Valley. The work is part of the implementation of the Merced River Plan, finalized in 2014,  which directs actions that protect the Merced River (a federally designated Wild & Scenic River) and enhances the visitor experience.

Concurrently, significant work is being conducted in and around Camp 4, a popular walk-in campground in Yosemite Valley. Currently, the parking lot is being expanded, bringing the capacity to 130 vehicles.  Either later this fall or in Spring, 2018, 25 campsites are being added (each site can accommodate 6 people) which will bring the total to 57 campsites. A new comfort station is also being constructed in which showers will be included. This will be the first park campground that will provide shower facilities for people staying in the campground.  The total cost of the campground project is approximately $2 million(funded by the Recreational Fee Program) and is expected to be completed in 2018.

All roads within Yosemite Valley and Camp 4 remain open during the construction. There are some lane closures and traffic delays associated with the ongoing work. There will be no active construction in the winter, and projects will resume in Spring 2018.

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Under Threat

Photo by AAC Member & Grant Recipient Paxson Woelber

Photo by AAC Member & Grant Recipient Paxson Woelber

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is facing a tremendous threat. Its solitude and silence are one step closer to being replaced with noisy drilling equipment and heavy machinery.  Over the course of our 115-year history, the American Alpine Club has been committed to protecting our country’s most treasured landscapes, including the Arctic. With Congress’ budget vote last week, the future of this crown jewel is at risk.

Located in northern Alaska, the Arctic Refuge offers dramatic mountain summits, inspiration and endless adventure. As AAC Managing Director Keegan Young says, “These mountain ranges and untouched landscapes represent the wild places in our heart and mind. I’ve climbed all over the world but return to these peaks because they ignite my soul. It's not just the rugged terrain, it's the solitude and magnificent beauty.”

Last week, the United States Senate passed a budget resolution that charges the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee with reducing the federal deficit through revenues created by oil and gas leasing in the Arctic Refuge. Since the House of Representatives already passed a similar budget provision early this year, both the House and Senate will work to reconcile their budget versions before final passage and delivery to the president.

The AAC has a long legacy of scientific exploration and adventure in the Arctic—pioneering cutting-edge new routes and supporting research expeditions that have contributed valuable information to our understanding of mountain, Antarctic and Arctic ecosystems. For example, AAC Board Member Kit DesLauriers completed the first known ascent of Mount Isto in the ANWR and has been working to merge environmental science with adventure. Check out her story here.

Help protect our last great frontier: As climbers, we have a duty to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for future generations. We still have time to urge Congress to protect the Arctic Refuge and stop irresponsible energy development there.

Check out how your Senators voted. Call and tell them that you think the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is too precious to be developed and tell them how you feel about their vote: (202) 224-3121.

2017 Anchor Replacement Fund Grant Awards Announced

Craig Hoffman photo

Craig Hoffman photo

American Alpine Club and Access Fund are pleased to announce the 2017 Anchor Replacement Fund grant awards. Now in its third year, the grant program was launched to address the growing concerns of anchor failure and the access issues that could result from these incidents. This year, we are thrilled to announce funding for eight worthy anchor replacement projects across the country:

  • Sam’s Throne Anchor Replacement, AR - Arkansas Climbers Coalition
  • Wichita Mountains Anchor Replacment, OK – Wichita Mountains Climbers Coalition
  • Lost Crag, PA - Southwest Pennsylvania Climbers Coalition
  • Hidden Cliff/Skunk Cave, ID - Southern Idaho Climbers Coalition
  • Tierrany Wall, TN - East Tennessee Climbers’ Coalition
  • Bolton Valley, Smuggler’s Notch, and Wheeler Valley, VT - CRAG- VT
  • Castle Rock State Park, CA - Bay Area Climbers Coalition
  • Stone Hill, MT - North West Montana Climbers Coalition

To learn more about these projects, see our press release. 


The AAC is Hiring!

Our CEO Phil Powers working & climbing with Dan Hammond and Sasha DiGiulian. Jason Gebauer photo.

Our CEO Phil Powers working & climbing with Dan Hammond and Sasha DiGiulian. Jason Gebauer photo.

We currently have positions open for a Full Stack Engineer, a Graphic Design and Brand Manager, a Major Gifts Officer, and a UIAA MQL Coordinator. The AAC office is a fun and dynamic space at the American Mountaineering Center in Golden, Colorado. 

Interested in joining the team? Learn more about the available jobs and internships on our openings page. 

AAC Releases Statement on Antiquities Act Review

Betsy Manero climbs an Indian Creek classic. The Creek, a part of Bear's Ears National Monument, is now under threat. Emma Longcope photo. 

Betsy Manero climbs an Indian Creek classic. The Creek, a part of Bear's Ears National Monument, is now under threat.

Emma Longcope photo. 

The American Alpine Club is concerned by Zinke’s recommendation to modify 10 national monuments, including reducing Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, Nevada’s Gold Butte, and Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou.

Any modifications to these monuments will impact the future of critical climbing resources on our public lands and the Antiquities Act—the law signed by President Theodore Roosevelt to protect the important archaeological, historic and scientific assets that face imminent threat.

The American Alpine Club is fiercely committed to our country’s national monuments—their wild landscapes and cultural and scientific resources. Read more and find out what you can do to help protect our public lands.