A New Political Climate: What's Next for Climbers?

As climbers, we have a unique connection to public lands and our environment. Beginning with its early founders, the American Alpine Club has a long history of environmental conservation and ethics, wilderness management and the scientific exploration of mountain regions.

The recent election has brought uncertainty about the future of our public lands and our environment. While our membership is politically diverse, we can agree that as a climbing community we bear a responsibility for protecting the places we climb and for protecting our right to clean air, clean water, healthy forests, rivers and deserts. Our mutual admiration for climbing and climbing landscapes unites us and transcends partisanship. Together we are stronger. And together we can do a lot of good.

Here are some of the ways we can get involved in protecting the places we climb and working toward our vision of healthy climbing landscapes:

  • Stay informed: For public lands information, follow our partners at Outdoor Alliance. Learn about the latest environmental science with Yale Climate Connections, Protect Our Winters and NRDC. For updates on what Congress is up to, subscribe to The Hill.
  • Learn how to be an advocate: Check out OA's Advocacy 101 series. 
  • Act locally: Engage with your local AAC Chapter and organize a trail stewardship day. Apply for an AAC Cornerstone Conservation Grant. Connect with your local land trust, work with your local city council on sustainability initiatives, find ways to volunteer.
  • Reduce your carbon footprint: Carpool to the crag. Ride your bike to work, walk or take the bus when possible. Reduce your water usage, reuse and recycle. Support clean energy sources.  
  • Learn about AAC’s researchers and the work they’re doing on alpine science. Applications for research grants are open from November 15-January 15.
  • Tell us about your local stewardship work so we can help spread the word.

AAC’s second president John Muir once wrote, “The mountains are calling and I must go and I will work on while I can, studying incessantly.” Most people don’t realize that quote doesn’t end with “and I must go.” Muir saw responsibility and purpose as well as pleasure in the mountains. So do we.