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.

AAC Purchases Campground in Rumney, NH

Naomi Risch warms up on Underdog at Main Cliff, Rumney, NH. Photo: AAC member Anne Skidmore Photography

Naomi Risch warms up on Underdog at Main Cliff, Rumney, NH. Photo: AAC member Anne Skidmore Photography

The AAC has purchased a 15 acre campground in Rumney, New Hampshire, within walking distance of Rumney Rocks Climbing Area.

"Rumney is one of the country's finest sport-climbing destinations,” said AAC CEO Phil Powers. “With visitation on the rise, and with more than 22 million Americans and Canadians within weekend striking distance, the American Alpine Club is proud to participate in a sustainable long-term camping solution for this popular spot.”

The Rumney Campground is now part of the AAC's growing lodging network which also includes: Grand Teton Climbers' Ranch, Gunks campground, New River Gorge campground, and Hueco Rock Ranch. 

Read the full press release.

Book your stay.


Anchor Replacement Grant Fund Now Accepting Applications

Craig Hoffman photo. 

Craig Hoffman photo. 

American Alpine Club and Access Fund are excited to announce that applications for the Anchor Replacement Fund (ARF) grant program are now open to local climbing and anchor replacement organizations.

We launched the ARF with Access Fund to address the growing concerns of anchor failure and the access issues that could result from these incidents. Across the United States, bolts installed in the 80's and 90's are aging, and there is an immediate need to address inadequate fixed anchors and increase support for local and national partners leading these efforts. This program is made possible by the generous support of Climb Tech, Petzl and Trango.

We invite local climbing and anchor replacement organizations to seek funding and support for anchor replacement initiatives at their local climbing area. Grant applications are reviewed by a team of experts from the Access Fund, American Alpine Club, and anchor replacement community. Applicants are expected to demonstrate both need and support from the local community. 

Find the application and learn more about the ARF here. The deadline is September 15th. 

AAC Showcases Utah's Climbing Resources

Celebrated Utah athletes Caroline Gleich and Stacy Bare will join the Utah chapter of the American Alpine Club on August 9, 2017 to climb with Utah’s Congressional staffers and showcase the state’s rich climbing resources. Utah attracts outdoor enthusiasts from around the globe, particularly rock climbers. The state’s 54 million acres of public land—especially its National Parks and Monuments—offer premier rock climbing on world-class shale, sandstone, quartzite and granite.

Learn more about the August event in our press release and check out our conservation work

New Season of Craggin' Classics Announced

The Craggin’ Classic Series, powered by CAMP USA and supported nationally by ScarpaArc'TeryxSterling Rope, and Rock & Ice, is the country's only nationally-touring, grassroots climbing festival. Uniting climbers around the campfire at world-class destinations, these special 3-day events celebrate all things climbing. From learning new skills and techniques, to sharing stories, sharing the rope and inspiring one another; from drinking beers and howling at the moon, to giving back and caring for our local crags, these events are the real deal:
Climbing events for climbers, by climbers.

Learn more about the series and specific events. 

Cornerstone Conservation Grant Applications Open

The AAC's Cornerstone Conservation grant powered by REI creates healthy climbing landscapes, promotes respect for the places we climb, and empowers local climbing communities. Grants range from $1,000 to $8,000, depending on the size and scope of project.

Applications for the 2017 Cornerstone Conservation grant cycle are open until August 15. Applicants will be advised on or before September 30. 

View past grants and find information on applying to make a difference in your climbing community. 

Nick Clinch to be Celebrated at Memorial this June 16

Nick Clinch in his library. 

Nick Clinch in his library. 

A memorial will be held for Nicholas B. Clinch on Friday, June 16 at 8:00 P.M. at the Grand Teton Climbers’ Ranch. 

Nick Clinch (1930–2016) was president of the American Alpine Club from 1968–1970, and was the founder of the Grand Teton Climbers’ Ranch, which first opened in 1970. Mr. Clinch last visited Grand Teton National Park in August, 2010, when he was the guest of honor and principal speaker at the 40 anniversary celebration of the the Climbers’ Ranch. 

You are welcome to come join us; learn more about Nick and the event here

Nick Clinch (center, standing) and team at McMurdo, 1966. 

Nick Clinch (center, standing) and team at McMurdo, 1966. 

2017 Live Your Dream Grant Recipients Announced

The American Alpine Club and The North Face are proud to announce the recipients of 2017 Live Your Dream grant. In total, $70,000 was awarded to 144 individuals from across the nation, making 2017 the most successful year in the history of the Live Your Dream grant program. Nearly 1 out of every 3 applicants received an award. See the complete listing of grant recipients and their trips.

The climbing grant for climbers, by climbers, the Live Your Dream grant seeks to fund every-day adventurers looking take their abilities to the next level. 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 mountain adventurers—to dream big, to grow, and to inspire others.

The Live Your Dream grant is powered nationally by The North Face and supported locally through generous contributions from the Hans Saari Fund, the John L. Horn Memorial Fund, the Mount Washington Valley Ice Fest, proceeds stemming from the AAC's Craggin Classic Series, as well as private donations from local individuals, organizations, and fundraising efforts by local AAC Sections & Chapters.

The Live Your Dream grant is community developed and locally administered with grant applications read, evaluated, and awarded by seven Regional Selection Committees comprised of local community members, volunteers, and professional athletes.

The 2018 Live Your Dream grant cycle will open for applications on February 1, 2018.


Christopher Bruno, from Ann Arbor MI, was awarded $900 for a Sea-Summit-Sea Traverse of Fairweather Range, including attempt on Mount Fairweather. This expedition will attempt to incorporate 4 skill sets a 160 nautical mile sailboat transit from Juneau to Lituya Bay, a trek into the mountains from the beach drop off, a climbing attempt on Mount Fairweather, and finally an exit via skis and packrafts to Haines.

Marisa Earll, from La Jolla, CA, was awarded $350 to travel to the Wind Rivers and lead five, 5.10 routes on five of the most prominent and spectacular formations in the Cirque of Towers and Deep Lake, gaining new experience climbing in the backcountry while pushing her personal grade limit.

Zack Sawyer, from Scarborough, ME, was awarded $700 for two weeks of alpine climbing in Chamonix, France, with the ultimate goal of climbing the Trois Monts route up Mont Blanc, the south face of Aiguille du Midi, and The Voie Rébuffat-Baque.

View all of the winners.

2017 Excellence in Climbing Online Auction Now Open!


Our online auction is your chance to get great deals on gear, art, dream trips and more. 

Highlights include: photo of Everest from National Geographic photographer Bill Thompson, the award winning Inti 2 Tent from Cotopaxi, signed books by Reinhold Messner and Kit DesLauriers, and tons of gear from our partners like CAMP USAPatagonia, and LOWA.

Auction closes June 3 at 7:45 pm (MST). Get your bids in now!

Climbers Lobby for Public Lands

Climbers and policymakers discuss the future of our public lands. Stephen Gosling photo. 

Climbers and policymakers discuss the future of our public lands. Stephen Gosling photo. 

On May 11th, 2017, the AAC and Access Fund joined forces in our nation’s capital to Climb the Hill to advocate for public lands, the outdoor recreation economy and adequate funding for land management agencies. With a team of 50 climbers—including Tommy CaldwellSasha DiGiulianAlex HonnoldKai Lightner and Libby Sauter—we dispersed throughout Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress and leaders of land management agencies.

Climbers showed up in force and found a responsive audience. Lawmakers were impressed by the unique perspectives of the climbing community. 

Learn more about our impact and experience in our Policy Update

Did you miss us live in DC? Watch it here.

AAC Volunteers Bring New Heights Program to Underserved Kids

A report from AAC Triangle Chapter Chair David Thoenen

AAC Volunteer: “What's most fun about climbing?”
Shalynn, age 12: “Belaying… because that's when my friends know that I've got their back.”

The AAC Triangle Chapter's New Heights program for underserved children began with an informal outing in the fall of 2014. A dozen or so kids enrolled in a YMCA mentoring program for at-risk children spent an evening with AAC volunteers, enjoying their first climbing experience. The Y and the Triangle Rock Club North Raleigh, provided logistical support while AAC volunteers belayed, cheered and laid out a pizza spread.

It was so much fun that the group did it again a month later. The seed had been planted.

AAC volunteers Rebecca Lem, Derek Morgan, Cathy Kramer and John Dagenhart recognized that the chapter could do more for the kids than simply get them into the gym for special outings. They proposed the creation of an ongoing outreach program, which launched in February 2015 with support from the Y, the Triangle Rock Club, and a dozen more AAC volunteers. Connie Lightner (Kai Lightner’s mother) and lead volunteer Rebecca christened the program New Heights.

Iyana Cropped.jpg

New Heights is a program, not an event. Twelve kids per location are enrolled in the fall and expected to attend monthly sessions during the school year. In addition to offering climbing skill development, the program emphasizes character development, particularly goal-setting, positive interaction and relationships with adults and peers, physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle.

Each monthly session is structured to focus on both the kids' individual objectives and the program's objectives. On arrival, each child is expected to pick-up their shoes and harnesses and gear up independently. After stretching, individuals will work on a combination of bouldering problems and top-roping skills with their AAC climbing mentor. The evening wraps up with a pizza or sandwich dinner buffet for all.

It's great to see kids moving up the YDS scale at the gym. But it's maybe even better to see the older kids like Shaylynn taking on the challenge and responsibility of belaying, letting friends know they’ve “got their back.” 

A program that begins each school year with some fear of heights and general apprehension, ultimately yields significant personal growth. Y Learning leader Jennifer Watson has seen the growing self-confidence in all of her participating students – a development that translates to their academic perseverance and supportive interactions with peers, tutors and mentors.

In February 2017, the program expanded to support a new YMCA branch with a community of predominately Latino children. New Heights is now running monthly at two Triangle Rock Club location, supports two YMCA branches, and has over 20 AAC volunteers.

Thanks to local fundraising support and a generous scholarship from the Triangle Rock Club, this summer New Heights will sponsor twelve children from each location to attend one week of climbing day camp at the Triangle Rock Club. Also, in July, the program will fully sponsor two teenagers to attend a week of residential outdoor rock climbing at YMCA Camp Hanes! In 2018, New Heights plans to bring another Y branch into the program at the North Carolina State University climbing wall.

Growth requires solid program management. For the past two years, AAC volunteer John White has done a superb job as the New Heights Program Director, delivering an outstanding program across both locations.

“I've enjoyed supporting a program where perseverance and tenacity are nurtured through fun, exciting and engaging physical activity,” John says. “The program gives our kids the opportunity to apply their own definitions for success and failure to climbing. From there, I hope our kids are better prepared to apply the same goal-setting feedback to their everyday activities.”

John is supported by over twenty-five AAC climbing volunteer mentors and the chapter's New Heights Steering Committee, which includes long-term New Heights volunteers Ashton Drew and Bob Silk and is chaired by Brian Peters.  

Interested in learning more about our chapter program? Check out opportunities by location to find out what’s happening near you.

Secretary Zinke Visits Utah to Review Bears Ears National Monument

Photo: AAC member Jason Gebauer

Photo: AAC member Jason Gebauer

Secretary Zinke arrived in southeastern Utah on May 7th to assess Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. His visit is the result of President Trump’s April 26, 2017 Executive Order that directs the Department of Interior to review the Antiquities Act and select national monuments designated over the last 21 years.

Bears Ears National Monument holds incredible significance to the climbing community. It is home to world-class climbing areas like Indian Creek and Valley of the Gods, and it is the first national monument proclamation that acknowledges the importance of rock climbing. 

Bears Ears was listed as a priority under Trump’s Executive Order, and an initial report is due by June 10, 2017. Zinke intends to review the process by which Bears Ears was designated a national monument, in order to determine if it complied with the law. If this review is comprehensive and transparent, Access Fund, American Alpine Club and Outdoor Alliance believe it will find that the monument, in its entirety, is justified. The previous administration spent years conducting a thorough assessment of the Bears Ears region that included a wide spectrum of stakeholders—including climbers—and this process resulted in a well-substantiated national monument boundary that protects threatened cultural resources and recreation areas.

We are pleased that Secretary Zinke has agreed to meet with the Inter-tribal Coalition. The coalition of Native American Tribes is an important stakeholder group that will stress the importance of protecting the entire Bears Ears region, as well as describe their role in the multi-year effort to protect the sensitive landscape. We encourage Secretary Zinke to eventually meet with all stakeholder groups, including the climbing community, to ensure a comprehensive review. Access Fund has reached out to Secretary Zinke to offer a private tour of Indian Creek in order to share the climbing community’s perspective on the region’s recreation resources. Climbers will also meet with his staff next week during Climb the Hill to discuss a range of public land issues including Bears Ears.

Access Fund, American Alpine Club, and Outdoor Alliance will continue to interface with the Department of Interior throughout the national monument review process. The Department of Interior is only accepting comments on Bears Ears National Monument for 15 days after they publish their official notice shortly, and we will send an action alert to mobilize climbers.  

Other national monuments under review that contain climbing areas are San Gabriel Mountains and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monuments. We will keep the climbing community posted on the national monument review process, but in the meantime please send Secretary Zinke comments regarding the exceptional value of Bears Ears National Monument.