The American Alpine Club has been an effective steward for protecting climbing areas and climbers themselves since 1902, providing a myriad of benefits not only to its members, but the sport as a whole. The current political climate threatens the areas that allow climbers to follow their passions and pass them to the next generation of vertical explorers. The AAC is holding a membership drive during the month of June to bolster its coffers to help continue defending public lands not only for climbers, but also for everyone who enjoys these wild spaces.
Joining or renewing in June earns a Jeremy Collins designed “United We Climb” T-shirt to tastefully display your support of keeping public lands public. It also secures a chance to win an all-expense paid day of climbing with AAC athlete ambassador Sahsa DiGiulian and AAC Director of Education Ron Funderburke in Rocky Mountain National Park.
The list of benefits and services that the AAC provides is long and impressive. Membership benefits that directly aid climbers and their enjoyment of the sport include exclusive rescue services, lodging, grants, education, publications, library privileges, and more. Members receive up to $7,500 of Global Rescue Trailhead Rescue Services and up to $5,000 of Domestic Rescue Benefits (available in the U.S. only). To many, this is worth the cost of membership alone. Additionally, members have access to AAC owned and AAC partner lodging at discounted rates at crags and mountains worldwide. The club also awards grants for climbs, encouraging and allowing the pursuit of grandiose dreams. Grants are also awarded to conservation and research projects related to climbing and climbing areas, with more than $130,000 awarded annually. The venerable Accidents in North American Climbing has been educating climbers every year since 1948 and the AAC has created curriculum and safety standards to help reduce accidents, something that has become more of a priority as climbing is experiencing rapid growth. Members also receive the yearly American Alpine Journal, entertaining reading of climbing exploits sure to enhance the stoke for their own adventures. The AAC also maintains a library that contains everything from guidebooks to volumes of mountain culture, and members are allowed to check out up to 10 books and 5 videos at a time (available via mail). Lastly, generous discounts are available on a wide array of typical climber needs, ranging from guide services, gym memberships, magazine subscriptions, and gear.
The AAC has been actively vying for climbing access on public lands at all levels of government: national, state, and local. The span of this work is widespread and is a top concern, ensuring resources remain accessible to not only climbers, but to other outdoor user groups. From reducing red tape for organizations bringing underserved youth into public lands, lobbying for fixed anchor use in the wilderness, fighting for keeping public lands public (like the hotly contested Bears Ears areas) and spearheading initiatives to keep human traffic sustainable in fragile mountain regions, the AAC’s policy work effectively aids in allowing current climbers, and the generations to follow, to continue to pursue their outdoor endeavors.
Since it has been around for over 115 years, the AAC obviously has its own history. But, the organization also safeguards the history of mountaineering in general as well. Alongside the Henry S. Hall Jr. American Alpine Club Library, which houses one of the world’s finest collections of mountain-related artifacts, archives, rare books, maps, and media, the club also maintains the Bradford Washburn American Mountaineering Museum. Founded in 2008, this treasure to the mountaineering community tasks itself with interpreting knowledge about mountains and educating people on mountaineering history, safety, and mountain culture. Both library and museum are located at the AAC headquarters in Golden, CO.
The benefits of becoming or renewing your American Alpine Club membership are not only of value to you directly, it also climbing and outdoor exploration as a whole. Help keep public lands open to everyone, reward yourself with exclusive benefits, and help maintain stewardship of not only the crags and mountains, but also of all forms of climbing. Join or renew by July 1st and receive the “United We Climb” shirt and get a chance to hit the crags of Rocky Mountain National Park too.
Memberships start at $40.00. Visit the American Alpine Club website for more information.