The AAC unites climbers to advance the climbing way of life.
The American Alpine Club’s board of directors adopted this new vision statement in 2008. After a comprehensive survey of the climbing community and interviews with numerous individual climbers, the board also ratified a mission statement and key attributes that will serve as guiding principles for the Club’s operations in the coming years.
Mission: We provide knowledge and inspiration, conservation and advocacy, and logistical support for the climbing community.
• Chronicling climbing achievement and preserving climbing’s history
• Promoting standards for education and equipment
• Protecting the places we climb
• Enhancing scientific knowledge about the climbing world
• Advocating for American climbers around the world
• Providing logistical support
• Bringing together and welcoming all climbers
Looking over the AAC’s myriad activities, it’s clear the Club recently has taken big steps toward these goals.
In the knowledge arena, the AAC completed and opened the Bradford Washburn American Mountaineering Museum in Golden, Colorado, in early 2008. In the same building, the AAC Library constructed a new, secure room for the 28,000volume Central Asia Library, which will roughly double the size of the AAC collection. The Club also expanded its online presence, with new blogs from the American Alpine Journal (AlpineBriefs.wordpress.com) and the library (AAClibrary.wordpress.com). Major developments are planned for the AAC web site in 2009 and beyond, including expanded online information from the Journal.
In conservation, the Club continued its important work with the Alpine Conservation Partnership in Nepal and Peru, and launched “Climbatology,” a traveling presentation on the ways climate change is reshaping mountain environments. In partnership with Patagonia Inc., an AACsponsored trail crew led by Rolando Garibotti began a threeyear project to improve trails and climberrelated infrastructure in Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina, home of Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre.
The year 2008 also saw a host of initiatives aimed at communitybuilding, both at home and abroad. AAC members Eliza Moran and Nancy Norris organized the ChineseAmerican Ladies’ Climbing Exchange, in which female climbers gathered to climb in the Tetons last summer and in western China in the fall. In October, the Club hosted three major events in Colorado and Utah. First was the International Climbers’ Meet, the brainchild of outgoing AAC president Jim Donini. Eightytwo climbers from 23 countries experienced a week of climbing on the unique, worldclass cracks of Indian Creek, Utah. The climbers then traveled to Colorado to join hundreds of others at the first AAC Craggin’ Classic, a weekend of outdoor parties, clinics, climbing, and a Layton Kor show before an audience of 1,200. Finally, the American Alpine Journal hosted nearly 20 editors of climbing journals from a dozen countries during a weeklong Editors’ Summit. Both the International Climbers’ Meet and the Craggin’ Classic will be back in 2009.
The Club’s efforts to support climbers continue in many other ways. Design of the new AACoperated Shawangunks campground is under way, and plans are in the works for a climber campground by the New River Gorge. In 2008, the AAC handed out more than $40,000 in grants to expeditions and humanitarian, conservation, and research projects related to the mountains. In early 2009, the Club partnered with Nikwax to create the Bellwether Grant, funding science that documents the impacts of climate change on alpine environments.
We are indebted to Jim Donini for leading the Club through a comprehensive planning effort. Steve Swenson—who was intimately involved in our planning as vice president—takes the helm as president to deliver on these plans and promises to the climbing community. You can help by inviting your climbing partners to become AAC members. Learn more at www.AmericanAlpineClub.org.
2008 AAC Annual Awards: Honorary Members: Bob Craig, Nazir Sabir Honorary President: William Putnam Robert and Miriam Underhill Award: John Gill Robert Hicks Bates Award: Dave Turner David R. Brower Conservation Award: Doug Tompkins Literary Award: John Harlin III Angelo Heilprin Citation: Jim Henriot