UIAA World Cup Ice Climbing Finals Begin Today in Denver

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We’re stoked to be kicking off the UIAA World Cup Ice Climbing Finals here in Denver today (Friday, Feb. 22)!

The new North American tour stop will serve as the 2018/2019 World Cup Ice Climbing Finals in which over 100 athletes from 18 countries around the world will compete for the overall World Cup in both Lead and Speed categories.

The 2019 event is the first time the Ice Climbing World Tour has come to Denver, Colorado. The weekend event is being held in Denver’s Civic Center Park and is free to the public. Come for the climbing, stay for the Barbagazi Winter Festival featuring games & activities for everyone: Ice Maze, Obstacle Course, Fat Bike Course, Axe Throwing, Live Music, Ice Bar, Food Trucks, Fire Pits and more!

Come down to Denver and join the fun if you can'; the event is totally FREE! If you can’t make it, you can still stay in the loop by watching the competition live.

AAC Launches New Film—A Live Your Dream Grant Story

[This film contains expletives—viewer discretion is advised.] Far Away is a climbing area where Jenny Fischer and Kat Whipple attempted a first ascent on their Live Your Dream Grant trip to Liming, China. Far Away, a film by Samuel Crossley Media documenting Jenny and Kat’s journey, is out now! Produced in partnership with Ortovox and Deuter.

Watch the film and then go apply for a Live Your Dream grant, powered by The North Face:

Get Your Annual Benefit Dinner Tickets Before They're Gone!

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Registration for the 2019 Annual Benefit Dinner Weekend is now open, and tickets are selling fast! The Club’s largest gathering and celebration of the year, this event will explore the triumphs and tragedies of speed climbing.

The Annual Benefit Dinner raises funds vital to AAC programs like conservation, education, and grants. We couldn't do these things without the support of our amazing members like YOU!

The weekend is jam packed with something for everyone. This year’s Send n’ Social will be hosted at Mission Cliffs, complete with a celebrity climbing comp, libations, clinics, games, and more. Saturday morning, enjoy presentations from climbing’s stars and engage with compelling panels. The 2019 Annual Climbing Awards recognize outstanding achievements in conservation, climbing, and service to the climbing community.

Tickets are limited and selling out quickly—get yours now!

#AACdinner18

2019 Cutting Edge Grant Recipients Announced

Chantel Astorga. Photo: AAC member Anne Gilbert Chase

Chantel Astorga. Photo: AAC member Anne Gilbert Chase

Congratulations to this year’s recipients of the 2019 Cutting Edge Grant! The Cutting Edge Grant continues the Club’s 100 year tradition of supporting climbing athletes in pursuit of world-class climbing and mountaineering objectives. This year’s winners are Sam Hennessey, Chantel Astorga, and Chris Wright. Read about their objectives and then listen to the latest Cutting Edge podcast to hear Chris Wright and Graham Zimmerman talk about their wild new route, the tactics and gear required, and the two climbers' strong partnership, which will take them back to Pakistan this summer for a second attempt at one of the world's great unclimbed peaks.

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.

Join Us at the Winter '19 Outdoor Retailer Show

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Coming to Outdoor Retailer? Or just live in the Front Range and want to join the fun? 

During the Snow Show, we’ll be at booth 43105-UL. Come by for AAC goodies, to have your burning questions about the Club answered by staff, or just to say hi! We’ll be serving Bivouac Coffee and selling AAC mugs.

Snow Show Soiree at Meier Skis

Thursday, January 31, Meier Skis, 7pm:
Join us for tacos, beer, great live music by Woodshed Red, and an auction with rad prizes benefitting the AAC! Meier Skis is “the world’s first craft skiery”, and you’ll also be able to watch skis getting pressed while you party.

Battle of the Bands

Thursday, January 31, Your Mom’s House, 8pm: 
This legendary event is back! Join us for a night of live music featuring bands from the Outdoor Industry—including Black Diamond, Cascade Designs, La Sportiva and more. Tickets are $5 in advance, available online or at our booth, or $10 at the door.


AAC'S Take: Shutdown Squeezing Mountain Town Economies

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With the federal budget impasse and the partial government shutdown now in its third week, the adverse impacts to America’s public lands are mounting far beyond the thousands of government workers on furlough and the well-publicized public resource degradation of our parks.

For more than a century, the American Alpine Club has been the voice of a community, currently numbering over 23,000, that regularly climbs and adventures in national parks and on public lands across the United States. The direct loss of income for government workers and the mounting resource damage to our most beloved parks is abhorrent, but many more are quietly facing hardship. Suffering in the shadows of this shutdown are tourism-based economies and small businesses that provide guided access and interpretation to our public lands.

Recognizing the livelihood of small businesses that rely on access to public lands is an issue both Republicans and Democrats can undoubtedly support. The National Park System sees an estimated half a million visitors per day in winter months. According to the Senate Appropriations Committee Minority Staff, these visitors spend approximately $19 million daily at nearby restaurants, shops, lodges, and local outfitters. What Washington may consider the off-season for our parks is in actuality economic lifeblood for thousands of non-governmental workers. For small guide services, climbing schools, and others that provide guided experiences, the economic impact of the shutdown is an unexpected loss of revenue that won’t be reimbursed when this shutdown ends.

It is estimated by The Access Fund that 60 percent of all climbing areas exist on public land. Without predictable access to those lands, visitors and students are canceling reservations. Professional climbing instruction and guiding is a labor of love with slim margins and meager profits; a situation that makes guides especially vulnerable when our politicians are attempting to score political points.

Despite Washington’s impasse, the climbing community has stepped up our volunteerism to do what we can…

Read the rest of this piece on our Policy Blog or on Adventure Journal!

2019 Climbing Awards Announced!

We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2019 Climbing Awards honoring the most impactful climbers and conservationists within the North American climbing community. Among this year’s award honorees are climbing legends Tom Hornbein, Michael Kennedy, and Jim Donini, and present-day activists and trend-setters including Jeremy Jones, Kate Rutherford, and Brette Harrington. Read the press release.

Meet the awardees!

Contribute to the 2109 AAC Guidebook to Membership

The 2019 Guidebook to Membership theme will be Climbers Uniting for Change. This can be change at a social level, an industry level, a personal level—however you interpret it.

We’re trying something new this year: giving you, our members, the chance to pitch what you’d like to write about (or see written about) through this form, by January 1st. As an additional incentive, if we pursue and feature your idea, you’ll receive a $100 gift card to Patagonia.

Keep in mind that volunteering to write a story will involve a couple months of drafting and polishing it.

For creative inspiration, take a look at stories we’ve published previously by browsing the Guidebooks online. Some of our favorite stories have included:

  • A member’s experience going with the flow when the 2013 International Climbers’ Meet unexpectedly changed location from Yosemite to Bishop

  • The story of a rescue during the first ascent of Saser Kangri II

  • How one member turned a tragedy into an opportunity to spread the word on rappelling best practices

  • Why the AAC library is what dreams are made of

We can’t wait to hear what you all have in mind for this year’s Guidebook to Membership!
Questions? Email [email protected]


Celebrate the Holidays With Us: A Climber Gift Guide

Photo: AAC member Tim Banfield

Photo: AAC member Tim Banfield

‘Tis the season! Let us make some recommendations for everyone on your gift list.


For the long-term partner-in-climb, who loves tracking miles and always gives a soft catch:

Treat them to a Limited Edition Suunto Ambit 3 AAC Watch— they deserve it.


For the cragging buddy who offers you a cold one after every send (or flail):

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Repay the favor by gifting them this Mountainsmith Cooler with an AAC logo, stocked with their favorite brews.


For the old-school climbing geek:

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Give them the gift of historical inspiration- and a beautiful centerpiece for their coffee table- with a collectible book from our library.


For that friend who’s always cold, at the crag or in the gym:

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Keep them cozy with a mountains pullover hoody, and get bonus points for the sweet graphic.


For the climber pal who’s made you utilize your WFR training:

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Make sure it doesn’t happen again by letting them learn from Accidents in North American Mountaineering.


For those who believe the descent can be as fun—or more fun—than the ascent:

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Go big with a gift so your loved one or friend can go big on these custom skis (or, treat yourself—you deserve it!). We've partnered with Meier Skis and artist Noelle Phares to create a custom AAC ski built just for you.


For literally everyone:

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There’s never been a better time to give the gift of AAC membership— the gift that keeps them safe, inspired, and climbing on. Learn more about why every climber should be part of the Club.


Annual Benefit Dinner Registration Now Open

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Registration for the 2019 Annual Benefit Dinner Weekend is now open! The Club’s largest gathering and celebration of the year, this event will explore the triumphs and tragedies of speed climbing.

The Annual Benefit Dinner raises funds vital to AAC programs like conservation, education, and grants. We couldn't do these things without the support of our amazing members like YOU!

The weekend is jam packed with something for everyone. This year’s Send n’ Social will be hosted at Mission Cliffs, complete with a celebrity climbing comp, libations, clinics, games, and more. Saturday morning, enjoy presentations from climbing’s stars and engage with compelling panels. The 2019 Annual Climbing Awards recognize outstanding achievements in conservation, climbing, and service to the climbing community.

Tickets are limited and will sell out quickly—get yours now!

#AACdinner18

Introducing: AAC Skis!

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We’ve teamed up with eco-friendly, Denver-based, high-performance manufacturers Meier Skis to create these limited-edition handmade skis, which feature beautiful mountain graphics by Denver-based artist Noelle Phares.

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AAC Offers Veterans New Membership Options and Outreach

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We’re proudly expanding our efforts to engage active-duty military and veterans through new membership options and proactive outreach. The effort—led in large part by active-duty military AAC members—seeks to engage the veteran community by offering discounted Club membership, hosting veteran-focused climbing events, and promoting wellness and camaraderie through the pursuit of climbing.

Last spring, we launched a new grassroots public lands advocacy initiative, “Hill to Crag”, to take elected officials and their staff rock climbing. The event quickly expanded in scope once AAC’s Salt Lake Chapter Chair Byron Harvison became involved. Harvison, a life-long climber and active-duty US Army Major, saw the events as an opportunity to share his and other veterans’ experiences with rock climbing and public land with lawmakers.

“After returning home from an intense deployment in Afghanistan, I found climbing not only to be a retreat back to what I loved, but a good place to settle my thoughts,” says Army Major Harvison, “In my role in the Armed Forces, I’ve seen many people deal with substance abuse and depression post deployment. Climbing facilitates positive community engagement, healthy lifestyle, and connection to wild landscapes.”

Together with Major Harvison, the AAC we’ve organized four “Hill to Crag” events in 2018 and are rolling out a new AAC Veteran Chapter, which Harvison will Chair. We also plan to extend a special membership discount to active-duty military and veterans starting in early 2019.

Check out the press release to learn more, and tuned for updates!

AAC's Plans for November Outdoor Retailer

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We’re looking forward to another Outdoor Retailer in Denver, CO November 9-11th! Again this season, we’ve got a great lineup of clinics, panels, and opportunities planned.

  • From 9am to noon each day, come by the High Altitude Den climbing wall to tackle your burning climbing education questions. Do you want to know more about anchoring? Rappelling? Belaying? Do you want to get a personalized AAC Universal Belay Card? The wall will be staffed with AAC educators ready to indulge your questions, have the tough conversations about best practices, and introduce you to products and manufacturers on display at the show.

  • There will be educational chats at the High Altitude Den at specific times about a variety of topics, including a Carabiner Colloquium from 1 to 2pm on Thursday, November 8th and a Rope Referendum at the same time on Friday, November 9th.

  • On Friday, November 10th, we’re having a fireside chat about our Climbing Grief Fund at the High Altitude Den. Come grab a cup of joe from Goodhart Coffee and join panelists that include pro climbers, grief specialists and AAC staff to hear their stories, and talk about how we are making efforts to confront grief in our community.

  • We’ll be selling memberships, showcasing our work and publications, and chatting all things AAC at our booth (42086-UL) throughout the whole show. We’ll also be selling the very last of our inventory of Packs for Public Lands and AAC-branded Suunto watches! Come say hi; we’d love to meet you.


REEL ROCK 13 Coming Soon!

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We're proud to sponsor REEL ROCK 13, which delivers jaw-dropping action, soulful journeys and rollicking humor in a brand new collection of the year’s best climbing films. From Olympic training centers to the frozen landscape of Antarctica, explore the cutting edge of climbing with four new films.

REEL ROCK 13 will be touring the country this fall & winter—watch the trailer, then get your tickets!

Introducing: 57hours, the New Guiding App

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Our Education Director Ron recently told us about two AAC members doing long-awaited work for our community: they’re streamlining both the process of hiring a guide and the process of guiding with their free new app, 57hours. If you're making a gym-to-crag transition, experiencing outdoor climbing through a professional facilitator, or hiring guides or instructors regularly, think of this as your go-to resource. AAC members, get 10% off all guiding services through 57hours with the link in your profile!