AAC Celebrates International Women's Day


The AAC wouldn’t be the Club we are today without the work of womxn of all walks of life. Today, this month, and year-round, we celebrate the accomplishments—both on and off the climbing wall—of female and non-binary climbers, mountaineers, and advocates. Thank you all for being here.


  • We're running women's specific clinics at every 2018 Craggin' Classic event.

  • We're featuring women on the cover of all three of our publications.

  • We're celebrating women in positions of leadership in the organization.

  • We're running women's-specific grants, like the Live Like Liz Grant and McNeill-Knott Award.

  • We're featuring ascents by women in our Cutting Edge podcast.

  • We supported the Sexual Harassment in Climbing Survey.

  • We support women's initiatives by partnering with groups like Brown Girls Climb, Outdoor Women's Alliance, and FlashFoxy.

  • We're working a a chapter-by-chapter level to support other local women's events and initiatives.

  • The American Alpine Journal is working toward telling more women's stories this year.

  • We're actively working to have an even gender split in our member base that reflects the demographics of the climbing community.

  • Do you have ideas? Aspects of all this that we could be doing better? Contact us! Your feedback and input inspires us to create change, and we’re grateful for all of it.

House Passes Historic Public Lands Package


The American Alpine Club is psyched to share that the Natural Resource Management Act (S.47) just passed the House in a landslide vote of 363 to 62! The historic lands package passed the Senate on February 12 by a margin of 92 to 8 and is now headed to the Presidents desk where it can be signed into law. This major victory for the climbing and outdoor recreation community includes legislation like the permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, an important conservation funding mechanism that supports climbing areas accross the country. The bipartisan package also includes important lands bills such as:

  •  The Emery County Public Lands Management Act

  • Methow Valley Mineral Withdrawal

  • Emigrant Crevice Withdrawal – Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act

  • Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area Act

  • Oregon Wildlands Act

  • Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Conservation

  • The California Desert Protection and Recreation Act

  • Every Kid Outdoors

  • 21st Century Service Corps Act

This is a major win for the outdoor recreation community, which has invested significant time and energy into advocating the package’s support with lawmakers. The American Alpine Club is proud to have paid a supporting role in getting the bill through Congress. None of this would have been possible without your support! Hundreds of you took the time to let your representatives and Senators know that this package of bills is important, and your voice was heard.

We’ll share more in the coming weeks as the package makes its way over to the final stop, the President’s desk. In the meantime, it would mean a lot if you let your lawmakers know you’re psyched about the decisions they made and shared a little stoke for their effort. We’ve made it easy for you to share a thank you and encourage Congress to keep supporting public lands in future efforts. Please take a minute to thank Congress for their support of the Natural Resource Management Act!

Annual Online Auction Now Open

The 2019 Online Auction is now open! You could take home a gorgeous set of mountainscape mugs handmade by Uzumati Ceramics, an original Chouinard ice hammer, a dawn wall print autographed by photographer Corey Rich, a limited-edition AAC Suunto watch, or a whole lot more gear, art, etc. 100 % of proceeds benefit the club. Don't miss out!

On a related note, tickets to our Annual Benefit Dinner in San Francisco, CA are selling fast. Get yours by March 1st.

UIAA World Cup Ice Climbing Finals Draws Record-Breaking Crowds

Photo: Ben Nelson of  Huck Adventures

Photo: Ben Nelson of Huck Adventures

On its inaugural stage in downtown Denver, CO, the 2019 UIAA World Cup Ice Climbing Finals broke international records as the largest-ever audience for a World Cup Ice Climbing event and received a record number of online views with hundreds of thousands more tuning in to watch the competition’s live stream.

The two-day World Cup Ice Climbing Finals held in Civic Center Park, February 23 - 24, recorded a live crowd of more than 25,000, making the Denver World Cup Finals not only the most watched World Cup Ice Climbing event in the Tour’s history, but also one of the most well-spectated climbing events of all time.

Hosted and produced by the American Alpine Club, the event’s attendance more than doubled the original expectations. American Alpine Club CEO, Phil Powers, had never witnessed such a massive audience for a climbing event: “We exceeded our attendance goals for the full weekend before the end of the first day. People were blown away by the athleticism and intensity of the competition — I have no doubt many new ice climbers were created this weekend.”

Read the full report here.

UIAA World Cup Ice Climbing Finals Begin Today in Denver


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!


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!


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


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):


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

For the old-school climbing geek:


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:


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:


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:


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:


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!


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.