Latest Educational Video: Cleaning an Anchor in Single Pitch

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Like all climbing AAC education resources, cleaning an anchor in a single pitch setting has some simple principles that will help climbers find a technical solution to most common anchor-cleaning scenarios. Our most recent Know the Ropes video reminds climbers that anchor-cleaning should ideally be a principle-based procedure because

  • The hardware on the tops of cliffs can vary wildly
  • The stances vary quite a bit
  • The tools climbers have available can vary too. 

These principles will guide viewers to appreciate how safety systems work, how to be more efficient, and how to communicate effectively when cleaning. That kind of perspective helps us analyze our decision making and solve problems in adverse/unexpected conditions.

2017 Excellence in Climbing Awards Announced

The American Alpine Club is proud to announce our Excellence in Climbing Awards celebration, presented by Adidas Outdoor. The fundraising event celebrates teamwork and will honor the 2017 Hall of Mountaineering Excellence Awardees for lasting contributions both on and off the mountain.

The 2017 inductees are:

Sean Patrick (1951 - 2009) - For being a recognized leader in the cancer treatment and research community. Sean Patrick spread awareness, compassion and inspiration to other women by founding HERA Ovarian Cancer Foundation, all while continuing to climb.

David Morton and Melissa Arnot Reid - For starting The Juniper Fund, which provides assistance to individuals, families, and communities in underserved countries adversely affected by their work for the mountain-based adventure industry.

Sean and Timmy O’Neill - For their work with Paradox Sports, a community that provides inspiration, opportunities and specialized adaptive equipment so that anyone is able to be an active participant in human-powered sports.

Doug Walker (1950 - 2015) - Former AAC President, committed conservationist, and a true climber’s climber, Doug Walker dedicated his life to the preservation of the outdoors he loved so dearly through his service on a variety of boards and generous giving.

In addition, the American Alpine Club will present the 2017 Cutting Edge Award to recipients Graham Zimmerman and Scott Bennett for their first ascent of Changi Tower (6500m) by the North Ridge (M6 5.10 A2, 600m).

Learn more in our press release

2017 Guidebook to Membership Photo Contest Kicks Off

The 2017 Guidebook to Membership hits doorsteps in less than two months and we want to feature your photos!

Not only could you see your photo next to names like Keith Ladzinski and Andrew Burr in the 2017 Guidebook, but our first place winner will also score Rab's new breathable Alpha Flux mid-layer and AAC goodies. So start thinking about your year—your sends, your flails, your campfires, your bivvies—and send those photos!

Deadline for submission is April 22, 2017. Check out the details. 

Darby Communications Selects the AAC for Stand Up Initiative

2016 Lobby Day

2016 Lobby Day

The program will provide pro bono PR services to four non-profits in the next 12 months

Asheville, NC – April 6, 2017 – Darby Communications, a boutique public relations agency specializing in the outdoor, fitness and wellness industries, is excited to announce the selections for the 2017 Stand Up Initiative. Launched in February, the program supports select environmentally-focused non-profit organizations with pro bono PR-related services. With the goal of helping to protect and preserve the environment and public lands, Darby Communications chose four organizations making significant positive impacts on the environment, they include: American Alpine Club, Grand Staircase-Escalante Partners, Bee City USA and The Collider.

To kick off the program, Darby Communications will work with the American Alpine Club (AAC), a non-profit that focuses on advocacy and leadership to support the climbing community and promote conservation. Together the organizations will work towards educating the climbing community about the importance of public lands and heighten awareness around the policy work the AAC is doing to preserve our natural spaces.

“We believe that as climbers, we bear the important responsibility of protecting the places we climb and sustaining the climbing community,” says AAC Policy Director Maria Povec. “We are thrilled to have the support of Darby Communications to share our message and encourage climbers to stand up for the wild places we all enjoy.”

The second beneficiary is the Grand Staircase-Escalante Partners, a non-profit committed to preserving and protecting the 1.9 million acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument for the use and enjoyment of future generations. Darby Communications will proudly support their campaign to raise awareness about the monument and the importance of protecting it against threats being made to Utah’s public lands.

The final two recipients of the 2017 Stand Up Initiative, Bee City USA and The Collider, are based in Darby Communications’ hometown of Asheville, North Carolina. Bee City USA endorses a set of commitments for creating sustainable habitats for pollinators which are vital to feeding the planet. Through the Initiative, they seek to share their mission to sustain pollinators by providing them with a healthy habitat. Kicking off the first quarter of 2018, Darby will assist The Collider,  an innovation center that exists to bring together diverse expertise and stimulate a new industry of climate products and services globally. The focus of the pro bono services will be to assist The Collider with awareness around ClimateCon 2018, their inaugural conference on the business of climate.

To learn more about the Stand Up Initiative, please or contact Megan Torgerson at[email protected].

About Darby Communications

A public relations firm dedicated to meeting and surpassing the needs of their clientele with customized PR and promotional programs, Darby Communications works with many of the outdoor industry’s most respected companies. The firm’s clients include Astral, Aventura, Ecōths, Feetures!, Granite Gear, Headsweats, Hyland’s, Industrial Revolution, Sierra Designs and Tailwind Nutrition. For more information, visit and on Instagram.


AAC’s Recreational Permitting Mission

Photo: Scott Thompson

Photo: Scott Thompson

The American Alpine Club recognizes how challenging it is for our members to obtain outfitter-guide permits for our National Forests. We’ve heard from climbers who are guides, belong to a regional mountain club and those who work for non-profits that teach climbing that the permitting system is overly complicated and can be a barrier to accessing our commonly-owned public lands.

The AAC is partnering with The Association of Outdoor Recreation & Education, The Wilderness Society, The American Mountain Guide Association and the U.S. Forest Service to simplify and streamline the recreational permitting process on USFS lands. 

Our goal is to assemble a cadre of climbers willing to engage with the Forest Service to improve the permitting system. We’d like you to join our team.

We will teach you about developments in the U.S. Forest Service’s permitting system—specifically the June 2016 guidance on recreational permitting— and the cultural changes underway within the agency. You will develop relationships with your regional Forest Service staff, understand how changes are being implemented and you will have the opportunity to share information with peers seeking access to our National Forests.

Sounds good right? If so, we ask you to carefully consider whether you can make the necessary commitments:

  1. Participate in a webinar training on the June 2016 guidance (April 2017).
  2. Set up a meeting with your local forest (April 2017).
  3. Meet with your local forest and write a short trip report to Maria Povec, AAC’s Policy Director (May-June 2017).
  4. Participate in a group discussion (by conference call) with our team about your experiences engaging with the forests (July-August 2017).
  5. Where appropriate, have follow up meetings with the target forest (remainder of 2017).

As former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, “Our national forests and grasslands have provided inspiration and peace to millions of Americans.” Let’s work together to ensure that future generations will have the opportunity to enjoy our national forests, learn how to climb outdoors and to explore the vertical frontier safely.

If you’re interested in joining the project, please sign up through our Google Form. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact project lead Maria Povec: [email protected]

A Season at the Climbers’ Ranch: Reservations Open

Photo: AAC staff member Whitney Bradberry

Photo: AAC staff member Whitney Bradberry

The Climbers’ Ranch will be open in 2017 from June 10 through September 12.

Each month of the summer is unique in the Tetons, always providing a perfect time to stay at the Climbers’ Ranch and explore Grand Teton National Park!

In early season, from opening to mid-July, the meadows surrounding the Climbers’ Ranch become daily more resplendent with a pageant of wildflowers. Temperatures are moderate, with sunny days in the 70s or low 80s, and cool evenings perfect for relaxing by the warmth of the woodstove in the Climbers’ Ranch library. The classic Teton climbing routes are in condition for every preference, from long, continuous snow climbs, to routes of mixed rock and snow, to dry rock routes along the canyon walls or in the valley at nearby sites such as Blacktail Butte. During an entire day of hiking or climbing you may encounter only a handful of people, or, in more remote areas, none at all.

The height of summer in the Tetons is from mid-July to late August. The vitality of the Climbers’ Ranch is at its peak, with guests arriving from throughout the United States and many foreign countries. Every day provides an opportunity to meet climbers and other guests who love the Tetons. The hiking trails are all nearly dry, even while Paintbrush Divide, at 10,720 feet, may still bear remnant snow. On the major peaks, snow-climbing routes gradually diminish until even the highest summits may be reached by routes free of ice or snow. Thundershowers arrive and depart quickly in quarters of the afternoon sky. Wildflowers, fading in the valley, still bloom high above the ranch.

Late August and early September are blissful, with crystalline days becoming pleasantly cooler. As the close of the ranch approaches, night-time temperatures fall toward freezing, a reminder that autumn arrives early in the mountains. Cottonwood Creek, which roared in June, murmurs in September, with long reaches of river rock exposed where rapids earlier ran. Aspen turn golden on the Taggart Lake Moraine, and in the brown meadows surrounding the ranch, bugling elk announce the end of the season.

The Climbers’ Ranch constitutes one of the most historically important communities of climbers in the United States. The American Alpine Club has sustained this community since 1970. If you have never stayed at the Climbers’ Ranch, we welcome you to join us for a wonderful experience. If you have stayed at the Climbers’ Ranch before, we will be happy to welcome you again.

The Climbers’ Ranch provides the lowest-priced cabin accommodations in Grand Teton National Park or anywhere in Jackson Hole. Our lodging rates are still $16 per night for AAC members and $25 per night for non-members. Make your reservations now on the AAC website for the 2017 season at the Climbers’ Ranch!

Education, Counterculture & Mentorship: Annual Dinner Panels Announced

Left to Right: Kai Lightner, Sasha DiGiulian, Libby Sauter at last year's Annual Dinner. 

Left to Right: Kai Lightner, Sasha DiGiulian, Libby Sauter at last year's Annual Dinner. 

We're excited to confirm three panels and presentations that will take place on February 25, 2017 at our Annual Dinner in Seattle, WA.

The Education Crux: Together We're Smarter...or we should be
Time: 10am - 11:15am
AAC Education has been endeavoring to educate climbers for over a century, but rarely have all the disparate voices in climber education coalesced into a single mediated conversation. Today, more than at any point in climbing history, the American climber hungers for information, and a myriad of voices presume to fulfill their appetites.  At this special moment in climber education, the AAC will convene key voices, thinkers, educators, writers, to explore its historic vision of competent climbers and healthy landscapes.

From Counterculture to Mainstream
Time: 11:30a - 12:45pm
We are drawn to climbing because it provides adventure and fulfillment and uncovers the best in our partners and ourselves. The sport has grown significantly as the number of climbing gyms has increased and more people have access to the sport and lifestyle. 

As climbing transitions from its counterculture heritage in natural settings to urban and indoor environments, how does the climbing community build on its legacy as a foundation for inclusivity? What influence does social media, climbing gyms, coaches and the Olympics have on the way climbers transition from the gym to natural climbing landscapes?

We're partnering with Camber Outdoors to open this dialogue; see their description for more information. 

Melissa Arnot Reid - Partnership & Mentorship in the Mountains
Time: 1pm - 2pm
In 2016, Melissa Arnot became the first American woman to summit Everest without supplemental oxygen. Rather than rest after this monumental achievement, she sought her next adventure. With a friend she set her sights on the speed record for summitting the highest point in each of the 50 states state - completing the challenge in just 41 days! Melissa will share stories and photos from a year of challenge, record setting and mentoring the next generation of explorers. 
See you there!

Learn more about the 2017 Annual Dinner. 


Four Mountain Clubs Unite for Climbing Education and Public Policy

We're proud to be joining forces with the Colorado Mountain Club, the Mazamas, and The Mountaineers to promote improvements in climbing safety, coordinate stewardship and advocate for climbing areas in the United States. The four organizations have formally agreed to a working partnership to develop and implement shared standards for climbing and related mountain sports. The standards, lead by the AAC, would apply to volunteer instructors and remain consistent across the country. 

The partners represent four of the largest and longest-standing organizations dedicated to conserving mountain environments, providing quality outdoor education, and advocating for climbers throughout America. 

“We all care about introducing the next generation to the great outdoors and we have a responsibility to do it safely and effectively,” AAC CEO Phil Powers said. “This partnership, with four prominent U.S. mountain clubs, promotes the AAC’s vision of a united community of competent climbers and healthy climbing landscapes. In the vertical world, combinations of seemingly insignificant errors add up quickly—competence matters.”

“We have the opportunity to extend the impacts of our organizations by working together,” The Mountaineers CEO Tom Vogl said.

Read the full press release.

Live Your Dream Grant Opens for Applications

The American Alpine Club’s Live Your Dream grant, powered by The North Face, is currently accepting applications for the 2017 grant cycle.

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.

New this year: We set up a separate reserve, sustained by the Hans Saari Memorial Fund, to support our grant applicants with projects specific to ski and snowboard mountaineering.

 Learn more.

AAC Announces 2017 Cutting Edge Grant Award Winners

The American Alpine Club is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2017 Cutting Edge Grant award. The Cutting Edge Grant, a new evolution of the AAC’s historic Lyman Spitzer Award, continues the Club’s tradition supporting climbing athletes in pursuit of world-class climbing and mountaineering objectives.

The Cutting Edge Grant is supported in part by Global Rescue.

View the 2017 Recipients and learn more in our press release.  


AAC Gift Memberships

Give the gift of membership this holiday season. 

Here's just a few of the benefits you'll be giving:

✓ $12,500 of rescue coverage.

✓ Discounts on gear, lodging, events, and more.

✓ Access to publications, grants, and digital resources.

✓ A chance to make a difference in your local climbing community.

✓ A national network of more than 17,000 climbers in support of education and healthy climbing landscapes.

BMC International Climbing Meet Calls For Participants

AAC member Shay Skinner on Fear of Infection E4 6a, Llanberis Pass. Photo: @Alexmessengerphoto

AAC member Shay Skinner on Fear of Infection E4 6a, Llanberis Pass. Photo: @Alexmessengerphoto

We have the opportunity to send two (one female and one male) experienced trad climbers to this exciting British Mountaineering Council event in May. Preference will be given to climbers who have not attended a BMC International Meet before. 

The 2017 BMC International Summer Climbing Meet will be located at the Count House in Cornwall, a 200-year-old building perched above Cornwall’s finest granite cliff, Bosigran. Participants will get access to presentation, clinics, and climbing with diverse local partners. 

Check out the application (due January 30) and more information.


Will You Go Out With Us? AAC to #OptOutside

Dear AAC members,

We have a great opportunity that we would like to offer to you! As you may have heard, our friends at REI are closing again on Black Friday to #OptOutside and we are joining them and our friends at Camber Outdoors—a nonprofit looking to bring more diversity into the outdoor industry and to the outdoors. The intention is to encourage our friends and networks to join us by opting out of shopping and opting into getting outside.

We are giving out a small number of grants on behalf of REI and Camber Outdoors between $50 - $250 to support your outdoor adventures on Black Friday. 

If you are interested, please fill out this brief application by November 6.

Program Details:

  • Must be a Camber Outdoors Community Member (don't worry, it's free) and encourage all your friends to join. Events or outings on November 25, 2016
  • Application dates: October 31 - November 6; Notified by November 10
  • Event date: November 25, 2016
  • All grant recipients required to sign the terms agreement.

Selection Process:

  •  We will select applications in which at least least 50% of the group participants are women. Preference given to women-led activities
  •  Any size group is acceptable
  •  Preference will be given to events that h
  • ave a wide audience reach
  •  There are no restrictions on what outdoor activity you choose.

Grant details:

  • Use the funds to enable your friends, colleagues, community to celebrate, participate, activate in an outdoor activity on November 25, 2016
  • Funds may be used to directly support the activity
  • Applicants will need to provide a high - level budget in application
  • Funds will be distributed via check once you are accepted
  • Please keep the details of the grant confidential.

Social Media Promotion:

  • Must utilize and promote the #OptOutside hashtag and “Will you go out with me?” campaign call-to-action in all of your social channels between October 31 and November 25, 2016 only
  • Read through social media toolkit and use to assist with promotional content (we will share with winners)
  • Include "#OptOutside@ REI@ CamberOutdoors” on all social media posts
  • Keep Camber Outdoors updated on your great stories or activation plans.

After the event:

  • Provide an estimated number of individuals that Opted Outside through their micro-grant to Camber Outdoors no later than December 5, 2016
  • Submit recap of participation highlights to Camber Outdoors no later than December 5, 2016.