WE SUPPORT: American Alpine ClubWednesday, September 7, 2016
The growth and evolution of the American Alpine Club (AAC) and alpinism and climbing have been undeniably intertwined over the last century. Established in 1902, the AAC's mission statement reads: "We provide knowledge and inspiration, conservation and advocacy, and logistical support for the climbing community." What began as a social club of elite adventures on the East Coast is now a "more centrally located Denver-area organization that actively participates in international dialog about environmental policy, high altitude safety and medicine, innovation in alpine tools, clothing and survival technologies, sponsors expeditions, and investigates controversies in the world of exploration." Notable past presidents and founders include John Muir, Annie Peck and Fannie Bullock Workman. The club has both sponsored and participated in such notable expeditions as the 1939 summit of K2, the 1963 first American summit of Mt. Everest and the 1966 summit of Antarctica's Mt. Vinson.
These days, the AAC provides its membership support in the form of rescue, insurance, grants, retreats and guide referrals in addition to continued advocacy for conservation and access. The AAC's marketing director, Erik Lambert, describes the club's goals going into the new year:
Our longterm goal is to build a better club that engages and supports our members. We're one year into a five-year strategic plan to do just that, and we've already made heaps of progress. We've hired four Regional Coordinators around the country to support volunteers, build relationships, host events, and simply listen to what each community wants and needs. We've hired a Conservation & Policy Director to fight for climbers' rights in Washington D.C.-and mobilize local stewardship projects around the country. We've increased member benefits (rescue insurance has doubled, for example). We're on a digitization crusade to make our library's publications and archives available online. $25,000 is now delivered locally every year for crag infrastructure projects, which keep our climbing areas here in the United States open and clean. And we're building two much-needed campgrounds at the Gunks and New River Gorge. This is just the beginning, and we have more members than ever before. Added together, we are truly building a better and more inclusive national club for climbers.
Lambert goes on to describe the relationship between Black Diamond and the AAC:
Black Diamond's partnership with the AAC is critical. Partner funds allow us to provide better benefits, services, and programs to our members-who are also Black Diamond customers. BD's early pioneers were AAC members. It's great to look back and see how far both organizations have come, supporting each other along the way.
For more information on the American Alpine Club or to become a member, please click here.