The American Alpine Club is larger than ever, with more than 8,000 members, and has embarked on a broad range of new initiatives alongside its vital traditional programs, which include the 79th year of the American Alpine Journal.
In early 2008 the AAC, Colorado Mountain Club, and National Geographic Society completed and opened the Bradford Washburn American Mountaineering Museum in Golden, Colorado. The first of its kind in the United States, the museum offers a unique opportunity to explore climbing history and mountain culture and conservation, and includes numerous interactive exhibits. The museum website is www.bwamm.org.
The AAC also has increased its commitment to conservation of mountain environments. With the help of a $150,000 grant from the Argosy Foundation, the AAC’s Alpine Conservation Partnership (ACP) with the Mountain Institute has ramped up preservation and restoration efforts in Nepal, Peru, and Tanzania. The ACP’s focus has expanded to include documenting and mitigating the effects of climate change in alpine environments, through a program called Climbatology. In another conservation initiative, the AAC and Patagonia Inc. have undertaken a project to improve trails and campsites in Los Glaciares National Park in Patagonia. The club also has spearheaded human waste-management programs in Indian Creek, Utah; Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado; and Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.
The AAC is working hard to expand the availability of its knowledge resources online. The entire collection of the American Alpine Journal, from 1929 through 2007, is now available at www.americanalpineclub.org. AAC members also have online access to the this year’s edition, and can browse the new AAJ Topos section, which contains dozens of topos, maps, and photos from climbs featured in the AAJ. The Henry S. Hall Jr. American Alpine Club Library is also moving forward in the digital world, with numerous electronic initiatives, including digitization of the Lt. Nawang Kapadia Himalayan Library collection of more than 1,250 photos.
Mountaineers and researchers benefit from the generosity of AAC members through the support of numerous grant programs. Nearly $40,000 in annual AAC grants support cutting-edge alpine climbs (Lyman Spitzer and McNeill-Nott awards), young climbers (Mountain Fellowships), climber/humanitarians (Zack Martin grant), and conservationists and scientists doing work in and about climbing environments. A list of recent grants may be found at page 453.
In addition to operating the Grand Teton Climbers’ Ranch, a favorite base camp for climbers, the club is involved in joint ventures to build badly needed climbers’ campgrounds near the Shawangunks cliffs in New York and the New River Gorge in West Virginia. In October 2008, in Colorado, the club will launch the first annual Craggin’ Classic, a major new climbing festival.
Building relationships with climbers elsewhere in the world, the AAC hosted the first half of the Chinese-American Ladies’ Climbing Exchange in June 2008, with the second half slated for October in China. Also in October 2008, the first International Climbers’ Meet will be held at Indian Creek, Utah, with more than 55 climbers attending from two dozen countries. Shortly thereafter, the editors of the AAJ will host a “summit meeting” with 20 editors of mountaineering magazines and websites from a dozen different countries.
Everything the AAC does is designed to support, inspire, and unite the climbing community. By inviting your climbing partners to become members, you help strengthen our community and protect the places we climb. Learn more about the AAC, sign up a new member, or make a donation at www.americanalpineclub.org.