2018 Guidebook to Membership

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ith each print edition of Alpinist, we aim to create a work of art, paying attention to every detail—from our extended photo captions to our carefully selected images and well-crafted stories. Inside our pages, we strive to offer our readers an experience like that of exploratory climbing, a realm of words and images where they can wander, discover surprising new viewpoints, and encounter moments of excitement, humor, awe and beauty.

By publishing the work of climbers from a wide range of ages, technical abilities, nations and cultures—united by their passion for adventure and wild places—we hope to reflect and enhance the sense of community within the climbing life. Over time, back issues have become collectors’ items, serving as historical references and ongoing inspirations. Like our readers, we believe that great writing and art about climbing demand the same boldness, commitment and vision as the pursuit itself. JOIN US.

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a Patrick O'Donnell and Brian Russell tune up and rack up in Needles, CA. AAC member Ken Etzel @ken_etzel

CONTENTS Welcome.......................................... 04

Native Senders, Defenders............... 32

Artist Spotlight................................ 08

Seven-Year-Old Wisdom.................. 35

Membership Through the Lens........ 10

Everyone's Land............................... 37

Changing Faces................................ 20

Courage to Lead.............................. 40

Romping Further............................. 23

The Legacy of Betsy White............... 43

Elegies in White and Blue................ 28

Club Beta......................................... 45

Art of the Project............................. 30

Parting Shot..................................... 72


WELC OM E Climbing is changing. And so is your Guidebook. This year we’ve handed the pen to the climbers changing the face of our community. As our whole world shifts and spins and changes, the AAC changes along with it. We’re excited and eager to join all of you in writing the next chapter of American climbing. You’ll learn about many organizational changes at the AAC from CEO Phil Powers in our 2017 recap. You’ll hear from inspirational paraplegic climbers, skiers, and adventurers about the routes and experiences that changed their lives. You’ll rethink the cultural state of our climbing community along with outdoor education advocate Tyrhee Moore, NativesOutdoors CEO Len Necefer, and our National Volunteer Coordinator Truc Allen. You’ll reflect on loss—a topic that, unfortunately, hangs heavily on many of us this year—with skier, climber, and artist Sylvia Doyle. You’ll reconsider your mental approach to projecting, laugh as you follow a seven-year-old on a hike, and find inspiration in the art and photographs throughout these pages. Ultimately, we hope that you’ll feel proud to be a part of our big family. We hope you’re motivated to engage and join us in creating positive change. We hope that when you close this Guidebook, you’re inspired to share your own story—whatever that may be. We’re sure glad to have you here. Enjoy! With Love,


a Ian Nielson, sandbagged and giving it his all, on Mutiny on the Bounty (5.11+) in Paradise Forks, AZ. AAC member Jeremiah Watt @miahwatt

EDITORIAL Production Director: Whitney Bradberry Editors: Emma Longcope, Erik Lambert, Corey Buhay Contributing Editor: Eliza Lockhart

DESIGN Creative Director: Jeff Deikis

CONTRIBUTORS Photographers: Truc Allen, Clayton Boyd, Andrew Burr, Zach Clanton, Julie Ellison, Gabe Dewitt, Ben Ditto, Andy Earl, Alex Eggermont, Ken Etzel, Dean Flemming, Joe Foster, Jon Glassberg, Dawn Kish, Matt Kuehl, François Lebeau, Leon Legot, Zach Lovell, Ammi Midstokke, Shelby Miller, Jan Novak, Christian Pondella, Alton Richardson, Jeff Rueppel, Brian Russell, Andrea Sassenrath, Austin Siadak, Kevin Umball, Jeremiah Watt, Betsy White Collection, Cedar Wright, Krystle Wright, Forest Woodward, Bernd Zeugswetter Writers: Truc Allen, Maureen Beck, Zach Clanton, Ronnie Dickinson, Sylvia Doyle, Nikki Frumkin, Ron Funderburke, Jeff Glasbrenner, Chad Jukes, Anna Kramer, Eliza Lockhart, Bee Mathis, Ammi Midstoke, Tyrhee Moore, Len Necefer, PhD, Ben Rueck, Reggie Showers, Vasu Sojitra, Britta Welsch Artists: Sylvia Doyle, Nikki Frumkin

OUR VISION A united community of competent climbers and healthy climbing landscapes.

OUR MISSION To support our shared passion for climbing and respect for the places we climb. The American Alpine Club 710 10th Street, Suite 100 Golden, CO 80401 Phone: (303) 384-0110 Website: americanalpineclub.org


a Reflecting on dreams and perhaps-one-dayrealities-to-come is a common past time for the vertically inclined. Here, Katherine Wyatt stares down the east faces of the Torre massif from Polacos basecamp in the Torre Valley, Argentine Patagonia. AAC member Austin Siadak @austin_siadak

ISSUE SPONSORS Patagonia, Adidas Terrex, Alpinist, Lowa, Suunto, Petzl The Guidebook to Membership is made possible by contributions from members like you and our friends and partners in the outdoor industry. Printed in the U.S.A. All rights reserved. Copyright Š2018 The American Alpine Club. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. Photographs copyrighted by photographer unless otherwise noted.

a Ken Etzel searching out the plum line back to tacos and cold beers on the descent from Cathedral Peak, Yosemite National Park, CA. AAC member Forest Woodward @forestwoodward

DRAWN TO HIGH PLACES AAC Artist Spotlight Story & Artwork by Nikki Frumkin I’m on a small rocky summit and the wind is pushing against my back, blowing my hair and whipping the straps of my pack against me. I have a giant piece of watercolor paper on my lap. I’m holding onto it as tightly as I can. The wind is trying to turn it into a sail and it’s struggling against my grip. I’m deep in the remote North Cascades of Washington and I’m painting the endless mountains all around me as I take in the view. I’ve carried my watercolors, paper and brushes through miles of forest, talus, glacier and snow for this moment. To use my paint to capture the feeling of being on this windy summit.

My paintings are a way of holding onto the powerful emotions I feel in the mountains: awe, beauty, fear, joy, freedom. By putting the experience on paper I can understand and remember it. By painting en plein air, I can capture how the place feels and looks. The mountains offer my art life as the wind, dirt, snow and trees shape the paintings, leaving marks that tell the story of adventure. Art is powerful in its ability to build connections. My work combines pattern, vibrant color, and energetic lines to capture and share the feeling of being in the mountains: the feeling that drives us to keep seeking out these experiences,


that inspires pride and connection to our wild places, and that inspires us to act to take care of these places. On the summit, I paint the brilliant colors until the sun disappears behind the mountains and it’s too cold to move my brush. It’s time to pack it all up and head back to lower elevations where I’ll dream of future high places to climb. Nikki Frumkin is an AAC member based in Seattle, Washington. Find more of her work at drawntohighplaces.com or @drawntohighplaces

c [Opposite] Prusik Peak. Enchantments, WA.

[Top] Picket Range. North Cascades, WA

a Sean Villanueva O'Driscoll works the flute and his stemming calves in Joshua Tree, CA. AAC member Ken Etzel @ken_etzel

a [Top] Klemen Premrl works through a ceiling of needles at Helmcken Falls, Canada. AAC member Christian Pondella @christianpondella

[Bottom left] Alix Morris on the second ascent of Hall Peak's Direct East Buttress (2,000’, IV 5.9+) in the Purcell Wilderness, British Columbia, Canada. AAC member Forest Woodward @forestwoodward [Bottom right] Rob Pizem with the super-stealth-insider-must-know beta on Human Centipede 5 (5.13) Zion National Park, UT. AAC member Jeremiah Watt @miahwatt

a [Top] Katha Saurwein on A tea with Elmarie (V12), Rocklands, South Africa. AAC member Jon Glassberg @jonglassberg [Bottom] High on the Californiana route on Cerro Fitz Roy, Patagonia, HjÜrdis Rickert, Greg Corliss, Tommy Haugen Søjdis, and Ragnhild Fagerslett share a bivy and the morning sun. AAC member Bernd Zeugswetter @zeugswetterphoto

a Katie Lambert has long chased the golden rock of the Sierra. In the Needles of Sequoia National Forest, CA,

Lambert breezes the 5.12a traverse of Romantic Warrior on Warlock Needle. AAC member Ben Ditto @benjaminbditto

a Nik Berry and the Ojos de Buda (8a+) Piedra Parada, Argentina. AAC member Jeremiah Watt @miahwatt

a [Clockwise from top left] Battling the camp set-up on Baffin Island. Krystle Wright @krystlejwright; Patrick Kingsbury's morning after the FFA of Hell (Yeah) Bitch (5.13) Bears Ears Nat'l Monument. Jeremiah Watt @miahwatt; Marsha Tucker shows the younger generation how to crank at a ladies-only garage session. Dawn Kish @dawnkishphoto; Bare necessities. Ken Etzel @ken_etzel; Riding the whip at Mickey's Beach, CA. Franรงois Lebeau @francoislebeau; John "Verm" Sherman re-tackles Midnight Lightning (V8) in Yosemite Valley, CA. Dawn Kish @dawnkishphoto; Brody Leven descending Triangle Couloir in Little Cottonwood Canyon, UT. Andy Earl @wasatchandy; Simeon Caskey eyes the finishing jug on Mr. Witty (V6) in Bishop, CA. Brian Russell @btotheruss

a [Opposite] Jim Morrison leads the way down one of the team's spicier descents in Denali National Park, AK. Christian Pondella @christianpondella [This page, Top] Jens Ourum climbs Belzebuth (5.12b) at Val-David, Quebec, Canada. Dean Fleming @dflemingphoto [Bottom left] Zaza Aziz climbs through the psychedelic iron oxide bands of Mercy the Huff (5.12b) in the Red River Gorge, KY. Brian Russell @btotheruss [Bottom right] Stretching for the clip on an unnamed, unrated new climb in the recently developed Hidden Valley on Cat Ba island, Vietnam. Alex Eggermont @a.eggermont

CHANGING FACES reflecting on 30 years of climbing Story and Photos by Truc Allen



My best friend introduced me to climbing during my sophomore Eastern cultures is one of pragmatism, locked deeply in traditional and year in high school. I remember looking up at the towering climbs of societal molds. I’m also sure my mother didn’t envision climbing when the New River Gorge’s Endless Wall like it were just last weekend. I she was enduring nightmarish hardships escaping concentration camps also remember the sweltering heat and oppressive humidity of the West and fleeing 10,000 miles around the world with a toddler. Virginia summer, the ominous sensation of remoteness, and how small With reason, it’s taken some time, but I think she’s come to terms with I felt walking in the shadows of the five-mile-long cliff. I stared up into my life choices. Even at 75 years of age, she still tries to get me involved the forest canopy searching for the top of the climbs and wondered in her global business ventures—but she’s also pretty proud of her threehow, or even if, I’d explain the experience to my year-old grandson who climbs. mother. I mean, how would a first generation In 1994, I moved to Arizona with dreams Vietnamese immigrant parent react to stories of climbing 365 days a year. Living in Tempe of her son doing anything other than chasing and then Flagstaff, I sought out a life among the proverbial American Dream? climbers and only climbers. I traveled through I came to the States with my mother in 1980 the Southwest and the Four Corners for almost after spending years in communist and refugee a decade, climbing six or seven days a week. I camps following the Vietnam War. With only remember getting excited when, on really rare the clothes on her back and $50, my mother occasions, I’d see other Asian climbers. I felt invested in a little peanut roaster and started compelled to meet them, learn where they came selling packets of candied peanuts for 50 cents from, and understand how they got into climbapiece. After some time, she began making egg ing. It was a different experience to be sharing rolls, and I’d take to the streets of Roanoke, a sport that, at that time, was predominately Virginia to sell them. Soon enough, she began white. So white that I’d usually forget that I a small Vietnamese food kiosk, which expanded was Asian. There was a time when one of my into a restaurant, followed by multiple similar friends and I were talking about cultures, and businesses over the years. I guess you could say, they jokingly made the comment, “....wait, quite literally, we started from peanuts. you’re Asian?” a Truc and his family lost everything when As I grew up in America, the one thing I Today, I live in Seattle, a culturally diverse Saigon fell in 1975 and he, his mother, and three wanted to do was fit in. I wanted to speak the city with one of the largest Vietnamese popusiblings were forced to relocate to a communist language perfectly, wear the same clothes as lations in the country. For the last 10 years, prison camp. Truc and his mom eventually escaped into Malaysia, pictured above, but were everyone else, and eat the same food. I even I’ve been fortunate to see climbing grow and forced to leave the rest of the family behind. went to my mother’s friend who was baking flourish here, from the local gyms to national They were fostered into America two years later. my birthday cake and asked her to write my outdoor climbing destinations. On a recent trip name in icing as “Michael.” I grew up playing team sports, and my best to the Cascades, my partners and I were descending a trail when I looked friend was one of the most popular kids in school. That day of climbing across one of the busier sections of the crag. The stone was speckled in West Virginia, almost 30 years ago, changed my whole outlook. After with a diverse palette of climbers and belayers. I felt a sense of pride just a hellish 45-minute single-pitch battle up my first climb, I felt emancipathinking about how much has changed and evolved in our community. tion—from the pressure of succeeding, from wanting to be like everyone Climbing has always been for everyone—it just took me awhile to see it. else, from expectations other than my own. Roanoke wasn’t known for its cultural diversity. I was usually the only Truc Allen is a long-time AAC member, volunteer, former Cascade Section Asian person among my friends, in the sports I played, and definitely at Chair, and current National Volunteer Coordinator for the Club. He lives in the crag. My family saw climbing as frivolous, a phase at best, and too Seattle, WA with his wife, Heidi, and son, Luc. dangerous. A person's journey in life as seen from the perspective of Far


a Maureen Beck tackles Reefer Madness, a classic 5.11a in Boulder Canyon, CO. Maureen is a World Champion paraclimber who, in 2017, sent Days of Future Past, her first 5.12. AAC member Cedar Wright @cedarwright

ROMPING FURTHER stories from The Range of Motion Project The Range of Motion Project, or ROMP, provides prosthetic and orthotic care to those without access to those services. Paradox Sports revolutionizes lives through adaptive climbing opportunities that defy convention. We asked some ROMP and Paradox athletes and friends to tell us about a defining experience they’ve had in the mountains, either in the U.S. or abroad. Learn more at rompglobal.org and paradoxsports.org


 MAUREEN BECK Rumney, New Hampshire

Bishop, California

I had been climbing a few years before I went on my first climbing “trip”—the kind you finish ready to quit your job and move into a van. Rumney hadn’t been high on my list of places to visit; images of strongmen on Predator (5.13b) deterred me until a crew of friends finally convinced me to give it a try. We loaded up our Subarus and headed out for a long weekend. The trip was classically New England: camping at Rattlesnake, enjoying late fires next to the river, and climbing slick schist in the most humid, mosquito-infested conditions you can imagine. Each flaked rope, each clipped bolt, and each burnt pot of spaghetti brought me closer to this all-consuming world where one could “Be a Climber.” Over the three days, it dawned on me that you don’t have to be the strong-bro hang-dogging on 5.hard to be a climber. Our shared experiences aren’t impacted by who is climbing what or how, with one arm or two—only that we are climbing. Just because the climb I had done that day was Granny’s Route (5.4) doesn’t mean that everyone wasn’t sharing in my excitement. That long weekend in New Hampshire set me on a path of lifelong exploration. Sitting in a lecture hall back in Vermont, scratching at mosquito bites and picking at tape lines, I wasn’t thinking of the lesson on the board but of the lessons from the rock. Rumney was my first love, to be followed by many others. It’s already been 12 years since that trip, but the stoke is still alive. I’m left wanting more, and with the confidence and family I’ve gained since those first trips to Rumney, I know I have what it takes to find it.

I touch the starting holds of the boulder, out on the edge of the Owen’s River Gorge. I am captivated by the West and am taking in the impressive landscape. The wind is powerful today, blowing across my body, drowning out my senses. I raise my prosthetic foot up to the starting pebble; for the first time I feel the foot like it’s mine. I have never climbed with two feet. This is all I know. It’s 2013, and even after six full years of climbing under my belt, I still am learning, working towards that feeling of whole. I step onto the pebble with full confidence, working my hand up the arete. Something feels different today: less forced, less mechanical, more in tune. It has taken time to get to this point. As with most things, this moment will pass, and another will begin. I top out the boulder, savoring the moment. I live for these moments of inspiration. Today was special. I don't know when the feeling will come back, but i'll spend my whole life in pursuit, just to feel it again.


a Ronnie Dickinson (page 23) sends again, breezing Low Tide (V6) in Joe's Valley, UT. In 2017, Ronnie became the first above-the-knee amputee to climb V10 with the ascent of Resident Evil, also in Joes Valley, UT. AAC member Julie Ellison @Joolyhart

a ROMP collection



a ROMP collection

Cayambe, Ecuador

Copper Mountain, Colorado

After months of preparation, I was finally on Cayambe, a 18,996’ volcano, with a group of amputees and supporters. Our goal: to show the world what we can accomplish with access to prosthetic care. Our incredible team included Kathy Pico, an Ecuadorian who discovered happiness through athletics after losing her leg to cancer and receiving her first running leg through ROMP. Governor Martin O’Malley, 2016 Presidential Candidate, was also along for the climb (talk about diversity!). Simply reaching the refuge on Cayambe at ~15,000’ was a struggle involving hiking through brutal snow driven by 50+mph winds. We had a couple days before our summit push to wait for the weather to calm. We spent those days resting, training, playing music together (we hauled instruments up), and dancing. The morning of our summit attempt, I realized the conditions were still too severe for us to make it to the peak, but we chose to head out. Morale was high as we roped up in the cold, windy, predawn darkness. We climbed the bulletproof snowpack, polished from the driving, humid wind. We not only dealt with a steep and icy route, but also endured brutal cold and blasting air. I was blown away by everyone’s drive. Our team pushed through and eventually reached our high point at ~16,000’. It would have proven too dangerous to continue. We laughed, hugged, smiled, and descended safely. Throughout my climbing career, I’ve never had an expedition that didn’t reach the summit yet felt so successful. This mission was bigger than a mountain.

That emotion when you don’t truly know if you have what it takes, but you have no choice but to step up and find out: that’s what I felt staring down the back side of Tucker Mountain during my first trip to Copper Mountain in 2008. I was a novice amputee snowboarder, meeting a group of other amputee boarders from across the country during USASA Nationals. On the last day of racing, we decided to ride down the backside of the mountain, take the Caterpillar up to the top of Tucker, and ride fresh, deep powder. I had never experienced backcountry riding before. Before loading up the lift, a member of the ski patrol announced, “Expert conditions exist!” I thought, “I’m no expert. What have I gotten myself into?” I decided to put on my game face and fake it till I made it! When we got to the top at 12,000’ and it was my turn to make a run, I was scared, but I made sure that all of those butterflies in my stomach were flying in formation. It was the best ride I had ever felt: smooth, serene, and peaceful. Turning left and right, gliding down that mountain was like floating on a cloud. Had I let my fear control me, I never would have discovered that I actually had what it takes to ride backcountry lines. Since then, I have continued to improve. Fear can paralyze and keep us from discovering our true potential, but human beings were designed to overcome. The key is to face your fears head on. Be strong, and use fear as a counselor, not a jailor!



Yellowstone, Montana

A brisk morning dawned over our cozy truck-bed cocoons with bagel sammies, cold ski boot(s), and the fresh smell of two-stroke. If you’ve never been to Cooke City, Montana before, the one thing you need to know is that it’s a Mecca for snowmobilers. Crackling of engines doubles as an alarm clock. We made our way into Yellowstone and saw the behemoth looming in the distance: Abiathar Peak. The first miles of the tour were a little game of log hop. Post-holing every other step, our arms felt like wet noodles. Despite felled trees and poor navigation skills, we made it to the apron of the couloir with three hours of daylight left. Joel and I dug three different pits at three

a Vasu Sojitra cuts through the goods.

AAC member Joe "Dapp" Foster @whatsnextdapp

different locations to check snow conditions. All showed a stable snowpack and reassured us that we could keep moving safely. The boot pack was long and arduous, but once we made it to the top, all feelings of fatigue drifted away. It was time to lay some turns. This was the easy part and felt euphoric. With a solid 50º pitch to start, it was one jump turn after another until the walls expanded and the throttle could be pushed. There’s no comparable feeling of physically exerting yourself to achieve a goal for the first time, and I believe it’s safe to say this was the first time anyone with a disability has done this line. I’ll count it, but oh does the list go on. Montana, you spoil my ambitions!

a ROMP collection



a ROMP collection

Moab, Utah


When you think about it, leading a 5.7 sport climb in Moab —a place that’s surrounded by some of the best trad crack climbing in the world—might not be the coolest thing ever. But I didn’t care about that. After five years in and out of surgeries, getting back on the sharp end of the rope, feeling the rock with my fingertips, and taking those last few grounded breaths as I chalked up and looked up: that was what I wanted more than anything. Stepping up to the sandstone, racking draws and searching for holds, feet, rests, and the anchors, I was in it. That moment. That feeling. I was getting it again. My two friends felt my nervous energy but never doubted me. They were both there when I fell five years ago. They were both there when we learned I shattered my foot. They were both there when it never got better. And they were both there after it was chopped off. The first few clips were awkward. One needed a long runner to keep the rope drag down. I fumbled. Maybe it was too soon. It took a little bit to get used to my new prosthetic climbing foot. But within 20 feet or so, something happened. I was floating with natural movements. Powered by my legs, guided by my hands. I was clipping bolt after bolt. Six down, five to go. My breathing slowed. I felt the warm spring wind surround my body. I remember a kind of runout section, but I remember the feeling more. Freedom. Grace. Focus. Climbing. Clipping the anchors had my heart singing. I let out a big howl. Lowering to the ground wasn’t that winning-the-game moment with champagne and me getting hoisted onto shoulders—it was better. My crew greeted me with quiet hugs. Hardly any words were spoken. Hardly any were needed. They knew. I knew. I was back. I was climbing. I was with my closest climbing friends. It was beautiful, and it was just the beginning.

B ig expeditions are as much mental as they are physical . My endeavor to become the first physically challenged athlete to complete the Explorer’s Grand Slam exposes me to lots of different climbs. Recently, I got back from Antarctica, where I skied the last degree to the South Pole and climbed Mt. Vinson, the highest peak in Antarctica. Equipment is very important for me, and I needed to think creatively to design a leg that would help me accomplish my Antarctic goals. I worked closely with the company that designs my legs to make one for cross-country skiing. I needed something that would get me to the South Pole while pulling a heavy sled with our team equipment and gear. A big concern was frostbite to my stump, as the average temperature was less than -20°F. The final result was a one-of-a-kind build, tailored just for this trip. We were dropped by plane on the ice and snow at the 89th degree. The solitude was humbling; we didn’t see another person or animal besides our group of six. All we saw was blue sky, ice-packed snow, and never-ending sunlight. All we heard was our skis in the snow and our sleds behind us. I didn’t bring any music, so I was completely absorbed in the moment and disconnected from all of life’s distractions. Everything got really simple. We succeeded. My favorite thing is preparing for an expedition, learning the necessary skills, and coming up with a solution. Antarctica demanded a game plan—and rewarded me for it.


Elegies in White and Blue story contest winner Story by Sylvia Doyle


I climb with a helmet, double check my knots, ski with a transceiver, study the avalanche forecast, and choose terrain carefully. My skills constrain me to modest mountain objectives. I understand that others, like Jeff, might push boundaries in search of greater rewards, accepting more risk. Still, when things go wrong, grief ’s persistence makes it hard to find a balance between sorrow, helplessness, frustration, and forgiveness. I play on mountains in all seasons, recharging my spirit through their beauty and building friendships through their challenges. They make me feel alive, but I, full of blood, bone, logic, and love, am nothing like a mountain. I carry loss with me every day on skis and on rock. Beneath the sparkling joy and exhilaration, I always see a blue shadow. It reminds me of what I have to lose and what that loss might mean to those around me. Years later, as I scroll through a computer screen, my last photograph of that day with Jeff stands out—the spruce and pines jutting above the snowpack, the bright white light, the wind-textured snow. Cody Peak has fallen into shadow. In that shot, you can see my measured, symmetrical tracks descending the slope. To the right, Tara cut big, flattened arcs, crossing mine at odd intervals before veering away. Jeff’s line is right down the center, a dark squiggle carved into blue snow.

It was a hurt-your-eyes-bright kind of day. Nothing reflects light like fresh snow sparkling under a bluebird sky. It was February in the Tetons, and I was 23. I stepped up the slope, following ski boot tracks already packed into the side of Cody Peak. Left foot, right pole. Right foot, left pole. Jeff hiked a few feet in front of me, a splitboard strapped to his pack, and his girlfriend Tara hiked a few meters behind. Near the apex of the slope, Jeff ran ahead to take action photos. Just when it seemed I would collide with the aching heavens, I crested the ridge to join him. There was Cody Bowl, hundreds of feet below us. Beyond that, white slopes stepped up toward the boundary of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, decorated with brush-stroke trees and punctuated with rugged cliffs. Above everything, that blue sky. The three of us followed the bootpack along a ridge toward the limestone bands guarding the summit of Cody Peak. We reached the cliffs and stomped out a platform to lay our packs and take a break before the downhill. I took a picture. Now, it helps me remember. In the photo I have of this moment, Jeff wears a blue shell and matching helmet and goggles, and he’s holding a granola bar. Between the cliff bands, wind has carved giant ripples in the snow, like sand shaped by tidal currents. Behind, on the horizon, smaller white and sapphire mountains match the deep hue of his outfit. Above him, the sky is not the pure blue I remember, but instead laced with a few wispy cirrus clouds. Two years later, and fewer than two miles from this spot, Jeff would die in an avalanche on the Pyramid, his favorite Teton spot. He had gone out alone, excited to nab the four feet of fresh powder from a recent storm. The preceding spell of cold, dry weather had left the underlying snow layers weak, and he triggered an avalanche so large it was visible miles away on the valley floor. I remember sitting with Jeff and Tara for a while, high on Cody Peak, savoring the snacks, the company, the view, and the sun’s warmth. Eventually, I laid my skis flat and clicked my boots into my bindings. Together, the three of us slipped over to the edge of the ridge and looked down the slope we planned to ski. Locals call it Powder 8s. Jeff took off first, carving long, graceful arcs on his splitboard. He was a dark blue speck in a sea of flat white. My turn. The abstract cut away, I dropped in, and halfway down I was grinning. I pointed my skis straight at Jeff, gathering speed to glide onto the sunny little glacial moraine where he stood. As I reached him, Tara started to descend. “No!” I jerked upright at Jeff’s shriek, adrenaline tingling my limbs. I spotted Tara. She was fine… it’s just that she had cut through Jeff’s track, carving huge, erratic arcs with her skis. This was sacrilege, Jeff informed her at the bottom, especially on a slope named for perfectly symmetrical patterns of ski tracks. The three of us looked back. A low, golden sun lit the slope. There were our tracks, right below where the cliff band met the snow. Laughing, we switched our skis into skinning mode and glided together across the white cirque. “He died doing what he loved,” echoes too often around mountain towns, at climbing walls, coffee shops, brew pubs, and lift lines. This condolence sticks in my throat, thorny in both its truth and inadequacy. In this life, the one I’ve been so privileged to choose, risk is significant.

Sylvia Doyle, an avid artist and backcountry skier, is an AAC member based in Missoula, MT. Some names in this story have been changed.

c AAC member Sylvia Doyle 29

a Ben Rueck on Delicatessen (5.14a), Aiguilles de Bavella, Corsica. AAC member Jeff Rueppel @jeffrueppel

THERE IS ONE UNDENIABLE TRUTH TO LIFE: IT CHANGES A sweltering summer heat bears down, and drops of perspiration line the furled brow of Drew, a middle-aged Salt Lake City local. His eyes drifted up a 5.12b that he’d created decades before. He’d spent most of his youth bolting and developing sport-climbing crags all across the country, but most of his masterpieces lie within Big Cottonwood Canyon, in the Wasatch Mountains outside of Salt Lake. Like many, Drew had dreams of climbing 5.14, but due to life circumstances and choosing a different path, he instead nurtured a family and a stable career. His vision of 5.14 was placed into a box and stored on a shelf in the attic of his mind to collect dust. With his children fully grown, Drew had a feeling that he’d left a dream unfulfilled. This brought him to my clinic. Drew felt like he could only climb low 5.11. Phrases like “I’m old” or “I’m not there yet” escaped his lips. It dawned on me: this man had been defeated by his mind. Talking with Drew, I remembered my own struggle with limited thinking. I’d always dreamed of climbing bigger walls and routes— standing on top of the world, seeing sights that few ever would. But for years, I stayed in my comfort zone of bouldering. The unknown is scary and intimidating, and subconsciously I was afraid. There are very few sports that exaggerate change, both mentally and physically, more than climbing. Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down, and how you handle these fluctuations always can improve. For more than a year and a half, I developed and tweaked a new clinic for the American Alpine Club’s Craggin’ Classics. The goal was to create a class that would inspire ongoing, insightful change in the pursuit of personal climbing growth. “The Art of the Project” was born.

The more content I developed, the more I realized that my 14 years of climbing experience was intrinsic. I knew nothing about how to communicate this knowledge to others. The first classes were rocky at best. I focused on subjective material instead of objective concepts. I spent more time trying to fix climbers’ personal inadequacy problems than I did giving climbers the tools to fix problems themselves. I don’t have a psych degree––I’m a guy who got a lot more wrong than right, especially at the beginning of my career. But that became the key to turning the class around: I was already a master at failing... Why not create a space where others would feel comfortable doing the same? When participants have permission to try and fail, at least one out of four in the clinic will red-point their hardest grade in fewer than eight hours. At first, I watched carefully to see what had changed and triggered this latent ability in my students. Quickly it became clear that all growth starts from the neck up. Drew was hesitant to change his views. He had old tactics and a limited mindset. The idea of top-roping a route to learn delicate sequences baffled him. “I just learned to climb to the chains,” he said, “and try over and over again until I red-point the route.” “Have you ever tried linking sections, stopping deliberately and reworking parts?” I asked. “That’s not really how we did it back then.” Suddenly a psychological spider’s web appeared in front of me, each thread affecting the others. Anchor points such as motivations, old habits, traditionalist thinking, emotional intelligence, and an overall lack of experience held Drew at bay. I asked Drew the questions that I’d agonized over when I was evaluating my own relationship to climbing: “Why am I doing this?” and “How do I define success?” Goals start with a dream. If you can see it––if you can see yourself standing on the podium, clipping the chains, in an ideal relationship, or whatever floats your boat, then you can achieve it. It just requires an understanding of what your values and desires are. That and patience.


Dreams require work. Awkward conversations, hard decisions, sacrifice, and seeking answers to some of the toughest questions a person can face. What are you willing to give up? What are you willing to suffer in pursuit of your dream? You will find difficulties in your path. Look at them not as roadblocks, but as opportunities to help you grow. Now, when I look at a project that is well beyond my ability, I understand that it may take years to accomplish, but I work towards that goal one step at a time and accept that even the agonizing steps are part of the process. Drew wanted to climb harder. Drew also wanted a magic pill. But the secret is knowing that there isn’t a magic solution to climbing harder. That’s what gives you the true freedom and motivation to choose what you really want and commit yourself to making the necessary changes to get there. Without a challenge, victory is hollow. Drew took a deep breath as he laced his shoes. For an hour he resequenced a route that he’d done the first ascent of decades ago. Age had taken some of his strength, but it also gave him wisdom, experience, and technique. The class watched as Drew fought that afternoon and managed to redpoint a stout 5.12. “I didn’t think I could do that so quickly,” Drew said, his hands loosening his knot, the rope sliding from his pumped grip. “What happened?” I asked. “I changed my approach.” We often assume that we cannot change our routines, from the amount of coffee we drink to the way we think about our own ability to progress. But we always have a choice, and the realization of a dream is simply the culmination of hundreds of choices. A dream is a powerful force, and it can only be realized by one person––you. All you need to do is make the decision to change. Ben Rueck is an AAC member living in Grand Junction, CO. The Art of the Project is a featured clinic at the Craggin' Classic Series (see page 52).

NATIVE SENDERS, NATIVE DEFENDERS indigenous peoples' contributions to American climbing Story by Len Necefer, PhD As a child, I looked forward to the National Geographic magazines that came in the mail because I knew they would have high-glossed photos of alpine landscapes. I pored over shots of places like the Fitz Roy traverse and Denali. I cut out photos of the mountains to make collages that would hang near my bed. Before falling asleep, I tucked my blankets around me, imaging I was encased in a massive down sleeping bag in a bivy above tree line, waiting out winds. I come from a family of Navajo medicine people and Detroit blue-collar auto workers, but I grew up in between, in Kansas. Both of my parents had morbid fears of heights, and we didn’t have many resources to explore the mountains I dreamed of, anyway. There was no clear outlet for my climbing aspirations in Kansas or on the reservation in Arizona where I moved when I was 12 years old. However,

I was fortunate to grow up in a family that valued and encouraged adventure, education, and determination. As a teenager, I began to see how my life, embedded in Navajo culture, dictated my perspective on the world. My grandfather, who was a traditional healer, would tell us grandkids never to forget that the mountains were our first, and most important, classroom. I learned pieces of Diné Bahane, the Navajo creation story, and specifically found myself drawn to the parts relating to the four major sacred mountains—Sisnaajiní (Blanca Peak in Colorado); Tsoodził (Mt. Talyor in New Mexico); Doko’o’osliid (Humphreys Peak in Arizona); Dibé Ntsaa (Hesperus Mountain in Colorado). I spent the next nine years pursuing a Western education (which culminated in the letters that follow my name) in the Midwest and


on the East Coast. Through this journey, lessons about the mountains and how they related to my identity, both as an aspiring mountaineer and as a Navajo person, kept me going and provided a touchstone during difficult times. When I returned home on breaks, I set goals of climbing nearby peaks and eventually the four sacred mountains. These excursions pushed me physically and mentally and regrounded me in my own identity and capabilities. Mountains are central to the identity and religious practice of many indigenous people, myself included. People have climbed mountains since time immemorial, but not always for recreation. For many of us, the ties of identity and religious practice to these landscapes have fostered an ethic of environmental stewardship because caring for these landscapes is, in essence, taking care of ourselves. For many years I thought that mountain

climbing was something that native people did not have much of a connection to. I trace this belief in part to the images and media that I saw that never showed a person like myself, the lack of history surrounding indigenous people and mountaineering, and the occasional pushback I would receive from members of my community about what they perceived as me pursuing “white-people” things. As my interest in adventuring in the mountains increased, so did my interest in connecting my own identity and culture. The first step to making this connection was learning the history. The history of mountaineering has reflected the history of the United States in politics and societal norms. The story of indigenous peoples' contributions to mountaineering is not often told through this lens. With the waves of settlers and assimilation policies of the 19th century, much of this indigenous history was erased and replaced with the “new” stories of discovery. Indigenous stories were replaced by romanticized ideas of noble savages bounding through the landscapes in ways that often mischaracterized indigenous peoples’ complex beliefs. Given 13,000 years of human history, one can only deduce that indigenous people have been drawn

to the highest points of these mountain ranges. I’ve learned to take modern stories about first ascents with a grain of salt, knowing there’s a chance someone climbed it before an ascent was reported to the climbing community. Today, in light of recent changes to National Monuments, people are increasing their attention to the stories and perspectives of native people who call these areas home—as they should be. We owe it to our children to make sure the history we pass on has all its chapters intact. They will be the next generation to love and adventure on these lands, and the future of that land relies on their ability to make complete and informed decisions. When a landscape is seen for the full depth of its human history, it’s much more difficult to see it simply as a series of drilling parcels. This longer-term perspective is critical not only to conservation, but also to preserving climbing access and protecting the rights of indigenous people. “The sacred mountains and our land hold the sacred stories of those who lived here first and all those who walked on our Mother Earth. The sacred mountains knew people of different tribes and different races who have come and gone. A new generation has come to exist today.

Even though many things have happened, our sacred mountains, our land and our Mother Earth will always remember who was here, who has gone and who is still here. Even today we can still see some things that people left behind. Echoes of their happy voices and way cries remain with the sacred mountains and canyons where they once lived.” — Wilson Aronilth, Jr. from Foundations of Navajo Culture




ÎÎ N eniisotoyou’u (Longs Peak, Colorado) (14,259’). Early settlers in Colorado were told by Arapahos who lived in the area that eagles were caught at the peak for ceremonial uses. Route established or used is unknown. ÎÎ Th e Enclosure (Grand Tetons, Wyoming) (13,775’). A sub-peak located on the west side of the Grand Teton holds the remnants of a horseshoe-shaped rock enclosure that likely served ceremonial purposes for one or many of the indigenous people of the area. ÎÎ S isnaajiní (Blanca Peak, Colorado) (14,345’). The first recorded ascent by the Wheeler Survey on August 8th, 1874 discovered evidence of rock structures at the top.

a Len Necefer, PhD on Friction Addition

(5.8) at Laurel Knob, North Carolina. AAC member Darby Prendergast

ÎÎ J une 7th, 1913. First recorded ascent of Denali (20,310’) by Walter Harper, a Koyoukon Athabaskan native, via the Muldrow Glacier route

ÎÎ A giocochook (Mt. Washington, New Hampshire) (6,288’). In 1642 Darby Field relied upon Abenaki guides to reach the summit.

ÎÎ 1983. The Andromeda Strain, Mt. Andromeda, Canada by Barry Blanchard

ÎÎ K atahdin (Maine) (5,269’). In 1804 relied on two native guides as part of their 10-member team.

ÎÎ 1984. East Face (V/VI 5.8 WI5) of Mt. Fay, Canadian Rockies by Barry Blanchard

ÎÎ T akhoma (Mt. Rainier, Washington) (14,411’). In 1870, Sluiskin, from the Yakima people, led the first climbing party to the snow line. Along the journey he told the climbers that his grandfather had once climbed high on the mountain but turned back because of dangerous conditions.

ÎÎ 1985. North Pillar of North Twin, Canada by Barry Blanchard ÎÎ 1999. Pugilist at Rest, (VI 5.10 A3 M5, 1000m), Mt. Alverstone, Saint Elias Mountains, Canada by Barry Blanchard

ÎÎ T ower Peak (Sierra Nevada, California) (11,755’). Arrowhead fragments were found just below the summit in 1941.

ÎÎ 1999. M-16, East Face of Howse Peak, Canada: first ascent (in winter) by Barry Blanchard

ÎÎ P arsons Peak (Sierra Nevada, California) (12,120’). A bow was found by François E. Matthes high on the slopes of the peak.

ÎÎ 1999. Pugilist at Rest, (VI 5.10 A3 M5, 1000m), Mount Alverstone, Saint Elias Mountains, Canada by Barry Blanchard ÎÎ 2000. Infinite Spur on Mount Foraker, Alaska by Barry Blanchard ÎÎ 2002. Infinite Patience on the Emperor Face of Mount Robson by Barry Blanchard


Len Necefer is an AAC member who owns and directs Native Outdoors, a public benefit corporation working in the intersection of the outdoor industry, indigenous people, and conservation to foster cultural empowerment. Learn more at nativesoutdoors.com

grown-up lessons from climbing with a child Story & Photos by Ammi Midstokke

I’m sorting through the gear depot in the trunk of my car, wondering if I’m about to embark on the best experience of my life—or the most miserable. Next to my 65-liter pack, loaded with camping gear and enough food for a person and a half, is a 15-liter pack loaded with Sour Patch Kids, Hello Kitty socks, and whatever else it will take to reach the summit of South Sister with my seven-year-old, Beverly. Or “B” as I call her. As a single-mom adventurer with a diva daughter, I needed to account for B’s cosmetics case and an array of Barbie toiletries. I also carried two sleeping bags, extra coffee rations, and plenty of fruit snacks. For B, this was an exciting excuse to consume more food coloring and corn syrup than I usually let her have, and I’m pretty sure that’s the only reason she agreed to climb with me in the first place. It was a beautiful afternoon, hot and a little humid, but we hit the dusty trail at a pleasant pace. We began at the Devil’s Lake trailhead— or so I thought. “We’re lost,” B said, while chewing on a blue hunk of sugar and puckering her lips. “No we’re not,” I lied. I chided myself for not having actually brought a map.

Intuition and a sign led us back to the correct trail. We’d taken the scenic route, which appeared to be at least two miles longer: a reality I never admitted to my child. As we made our way up the switchbacks, we listed the reasons we love hiking, discussed the strange way that plants grow, and pointed out trees that surely housed fairies. I learned things that I never knew about the child I raised and a lot about the relationships of ponies. As the hours wore on, I began to worry that we’d be hiking into the night. We passed some women coming down. I swallowed my pride enough to ask the rookie question: “How much farther is it to Moraine Lake? A mile?” They shook their heads, “Oh no, it’s at least five, maybe seven.” I looked back at B and thrust a preventative Sour Patch Kid in her


face. Our three-mile hike to camp was somehow turning into a circumnavigation of the volcano. I made a quick assessment of the hikers: entirely new kit and matching boots, likely purchased last week. As they hiked out of earshot I told Beverly they were from Canada and confused about metric conversion. She nodded in agreement. A mile later we came across the junction to the lake, just as I’d predicted. The trail rose out of the trees and crossed high-desert fields as the evening light turned the landscape gold. Even B grew quiet as we listened to the stillness of the air. Moraine Lake rests in a valley in the shadow of the mountain. The sun was setting, casting its last warm rays across the water and onto our faces. We stripped our clothes, splashed in the trickling creek, and watched the day fade. As the sun crept beyond the ridge, B stared at the changing colors of the summit. For the first time, she looked more excited than intimidated. “Tomorrow,” I said, “We’ll be looking down on all of this.” “Can we see California from the top?” she asked. “Will the volcano erupt while we’re up there? Will there be fairies?” The wind picked up as we ate dinner, bringing the promise of a summer storm. We huddled in our tent as darkness came, vying for Therm-a-Rest space. Gusts brought the storm in with claps of thunder and flashes of lightning. It tore at our tent, rippling the walls like sails on high seas. I looked over at B, snoozing undisturbed, frolicking with unicorns in her dreams. I struggled with a brief moment of guilt, questioning if I wanted this journey for her or for me. Was I proving a point or supporting an experience? I’d received many warnings about schlepping my child up a mountain from friends and family. I heard more than a few valid arguments. Ultimately, the things we value are things we want to share with our children. This I knew. I just wasn’t sure suffering blisters was superior to watching a slideshow. The next morning, we got up before the sun and left camp quietly. B acted as trail scout. This is her great responsibility and one that gives ››››

WILL THE VOLCANO ERUPT WHILE WE’RE UP THERE? WILL THERE BE FAIRIES? her stride purpose on our outings. Other hikers asked how old B was and how far she would go. We were frequently told that the glacial lake a thousand or so feet below the summit is a great turning point. But when we reached the lake, B just kept going.

We paused every 30 minutes or so to snack and drink and pick our next rest stop. The trail meandered through the trees, over rocks and scree fields. It began to warm as the sun rose in the blue sky and the landscape below us stretched farther and wider. “We’ve come so far!” B exclaimed, pointing out hills we’d walked around the day before. But after the first few hours, fatigue began to set in. It came out in words of fear as we scrambled up some steep rocks and B looked down the slope. “What if we fall?” she asked. I wondered if I’d remembered the Ninja Turtle BandAids in my first-aid kit. The last thousand feet of the climb are the hardest. The stretch is not technical, but it is relentless. It was the only time B asked me if she could just stay put. I pointed to the crest, only a few hundred feet above us. We passed a man sitting on a rock like a patient sage waiting

for the mountain to shrink. We rested there next to him and took in his stories of other journeys as we overlooked the glaciers. B offered the man some Sour Patch Kids as she stood to continue up the red volcanic scree. My pride swelled as I fell into line behind her. Those scrawny legs were not stopping. Soon, our shoes were filled with grit and tiny rocks. B had been hiking for nearly five hours. I will never talk badly about Sour Patch Kids again. I took her hand for the last few switchbacks as our feet crept forward in heavy steps. As we came close to the crest, I let B hike ahead of me. Her chin tucked to her chest, she stepped onto the crest of the summit. “The TOP! We’re at the TOP!” she yelled. I was in awe watching this tiny creature on top of a mountain. When I saw her look back at where she had been and recognize what she has accomplished, I was certain that my bringing her here was no selfish act. These are the guided journeys we make as parents. It is an honor to witness them. I choked back some sappy tears and replaced them with a high-five. By the time we made it back to camp, our sweaty, dusty bodies were spent. On the way to the car, we spoke of the hardest parts and the best parts of the climb, of food we would eat, baths we would take. “I never knew I could climb a volcano,” she said wonderingly as we pulled off our boots. “Probably there are a lot of things I don’t know I can do.”

Ammi Midstoke, of Oregon, was awarded a 2014 Live Your Dream grant (see page 63) to climb South Sister (10,358’) with her daughter, Beverly.


EVERYONE'S LAND Tyrhee Moore tackles the Adventure Gap*

a AAC member Clayton Boyd @_claytonboyd_

Interview by Eliza Lockhart

You are most likely an 18- to 40-year-old white male who grew up camping and hiking with his family. According to statistics, most outdoor enthusiasts are. If you fit that description, it's probably not uncommon for you to see plenty of people who look like you when you go outside. However, for Tyrhee Moore, the narrative is different. In 2013, at just 18 years old, Moore earned a spot on Expedition Denali, the first all-African-American team to ascend the 20,310' peak. Upon returning, Moore threw himself into a career of advocacy for diversity and inclusion in the outdoors. He sat down with us to talk about his path and what it will take to make the outdoors a truly welcoming place. 37



a Abby Dionne eyes up her next move on the aesthetic dihedral of Aero Friend in Wadi Bani Auf, Oman. AAC member Leon Legot @leonlegot

a AAC member Tyrhee Moore @tyrhee.moore How has Expedition Denali been meaningful to you? Moore: Connecting with other people of color in the outdoors was really powerful. Expedition Denali gave us the opportunity to find, meet, and develop some kind of connection to other people of color outside. It became very powerful for me to understand that people interested in our story needed Expedition Denali just as much as I needed to be outside. I started to understand that this is much greater than myself and even the expedition. What are the biggest factors keeping minority populations from involvement in the outdoors? Moore: The industry is super overpriced. Outdoor sports target a specific socioeconomic demographic of people. That’s an incredible challenge that immediately turns people away and makes it hard for people to stay engaged—myself included in a lot of cases. Obviously geographic access is a factor: many black boys and girls live in urban environments, and getting to many public outdoor spaces requires them to have transportation to somewhere hours away. Another factor is exposure: people just don’t know about outdoor things. I would say a huge factor is representation... it's important to create a very well-rounded picture of what the outdoors looks like and help people feel comfortable enough to enter these spaces. Do you feel resistance to your involvement in the outdoor community? Moore: If you are a person of color and you are going outside to do anything—to camp, to hike—you, in a lot of cases, will be questioned. You will be talked down to as though you don’t belong or don’t know what you're doing there. Those interactions don’t mean much to me, but

I'm worried what that behavior does for someone who is a beginner, or someone who is trying to figure out their belonging in that space. In general, there is resistance or hesitation from some different companies and brands in how they address race issues—it’s always a really tough discussion. I don’t know what brands are thinking, exactly, but I have a sense of what they’re doing. Let’s take a brand that does a great job of advocating for environmental issues or has reached the golden standard of 50% women in roles of leadership, but still has yet to fully address something like race. It’s almost intentional, because if you can solve a lot of these other issues, how is this other thing always being left out? I see very apparent resistance or opposition. The brand’s avoidance of addressing this topic seems like pushback, or a wall, in a lot of cases. What can people with the privilege of already being in the outdoors do to encourage the involvement of others? Moore: If people around you are looking for things to do, take them with you. Share outdoor experiences because that can make all the difference in opening up an appreciation for the outdoors. People may not recognize how powerful even a small day hike could be—any opportunity that you have to bring someone with you is valuable. Also, I think people should embrace this whole conversation and these movements toward bridging the adventure gap and getting minorities outside. This is a public space, and this is everyone's land. Everyone should have equal access to these places. *The "adventure gap" is a term coined by James Mills that identifies the separation between people of color and the outdoors. Tyrhee Moore is an outdoor educator and AAC member from Washington, D.C.


I’m so glad that this student got frustrations with to feel these a toprope backin g her up! In an old school clin ic, less compass ionate instruct might have thro ors wn her straight onto a lead climb, which co uld have been dangerous and unproductive. I wish my mento rs had been as thoughtful whe n they taught m e; I might have gotten over som e deeply engrai ned anxieties so or never develope oner, d them in the first place.


LEARNING TO LEAD mentorship, modernized Story by Britta Welsch | Notes by Ron Funderburke, AAC Education Director

This camaraderie is hard to plan or program , but it happens when the learning environment is healthy and the students are psyched. I hope every AAC clinic manages to create this level of peer support—because that's precisely what it means to be a member of this club. with ieve that, el b y tl es I hon eryone ractice, ev a little p A good abilities! has these student a l help il w r to c te her instru d apprecia . reveal an ie it pabil s many ca

Across the country, AAC’s local chapters are offering clinics on a wide variety of topics. These clinics teach climbing— and they train volunteers to teach clinics. As a result, we’re creating a ripple effect of knowledge to close the “mentorship gap” between educators and the rest of our community: a model designed to spread and carry on beyond us.

making solid placements. Typically I’m a speedy climber, so I got frustrated futzing with the gear. It seemed like, all around me, other climbers were racing upward while I fiddled with endless choices of wires and gadgets. A too-small nut. A too-big cam. Now this stance feels awkward. This hand jam is painful. Downclimb. Reassess. Breathe. A purple cam should work... I think. Below, my new friends were cheering me on. Focus on the technique. Breathe. Go for it! In this moment, my only choice was to trust in my ability as a climber and as a problem solver. I discovered an overpowering calmness and carried it with me all the way up the route. The top! All of the sudden I was there. Below me I heard, “I’d fall on that!” A volunteer was examining my gear placement. It passed the test. I lowered into a sea of high-fives, we got the next climber prepped for his practice lead, and we cheered him on the whole way up. That weekend gave me a new respect for the art of trad climbing and a desire to believe in myself, to keep going, and to always face the challenge.

It was a cool, gray, spring weekend at Mount Woodson, California. Climbers arrived bundled in bright puffy jackets. Cams felt cold and foreign in my hands. A recent college graduate and relatively new sport climber, I wasn’t expecting to start placing traditional gear like cams and nuts anytime soon. But when I saw that the American Alpine Club was hosting a Trad 101 weekend clinic, I was suddenly compelled to sign up. It was affordable, sure. But the real reason is that I’ve never been all that comfortable with comfort—I’m always looking for the next new experience. The 12 of us shook out some nerves with icebreakers and then focused on the first, and maybe most important, lesson: how to get into a healthy headspace. We worked on committing to moves while bouldering, and we practiced falling on a loose toprope. I pictured myself in higher-risk scenarios while still maintaining control in these safer settings. Later, because of these exercises, I was able to make smart choices about when to place gear, when to hang, and when to go for it. My favorite activity was learning about the physics of cams and nuts, and some hands-on learning about how to place them. But when we began mock leading, it was evident there was a steep learning curve to

: if the San Some multiplication this clinic Diego chapter offers er chapters twice a year and oth really can do the same, then we ion of climbers diversify the educat by 24 climbers in the United States apters per per chapter in 71 ch s per year ber m cli 0 year. That’s 1,70 education . getting some solid

Britta Welsch is an AAC member based in San Diego, CA.

This is what w e're here for! Ev en if Britta didn’t di ve into trad clim bing right away, she had an opportun ity to make a choi ce. AAC Educa tion wants every clim ber to have choi ces about what to pursue. We're gl ad some of them , like B ritta, pounce on new opportunities! 40

When a participant is thoughtful about risk, and discussion of this topic is central to instruction , that's a win for climber education! Too often , the risks are overshadowed by the many new tools and techniques.

a [Top] Clinic participant Holly Barrass at the Shelf Road, CO Craggin' Classic. AAC member Alton Richardson @agrphoto; [Bottom] AAC Education Director Ron Funderburke drops knowledge on proper belay technique. AAC member Shelby Miller @shelby_michele

THE LEGACY OF BETSY WHITE a conversation with an AAC legend and trailblazer Interview by Anna Kramer | Photos from the Betsy White Collection

Longtime AAC member Elizabeth “Betsy” White knows a thing or two about the Club. She and her husband, Gene, became members in 1962, back when newcomers had to be nominated to secure a spot. Betsy has traveled the world in search of new experiences climbing and learning. In turn, we’re lucky to have the opportunity to learn from her. Betsy has served the Club as Sierra Nevada Section Chair (along with her husband Gene), on the Club’s Board of Directors, on the Honorary Membership Committee, and as our representative to the UIAA Expeditions Committee. Betsy also received the David A. Sowles Memorial Award in 1988 for rescuing her teammate Mike Warburton during a 1980 attempt on Makalu, the fifth-highest mountain in the world. She spoke to us from her home in Berkeley, California about the progression of climbing, the history of the AAC, and why she loves the mountains. I was born in New York City in 1938. I grew up in Denver, Colorado and started skiing when I was 13. I soon discovered the cool people— largely boys—who were skiing in the winter were climbing in the summer. So I joined the Colorado Mountain Club when I was 17, took their rock-climbing course, and started climbing the Fourteeners in Colorado.

When we came back to America, I got a master’s at the University of Colorado and a PhD at the University of Denver in international studies. The Peace Corps experience changed our lives, leading us to pursue development issues from then forward. We moved to California in ‘73, and after several years teaching at San Francisco State University, I joined the Asia Foundation, a nonprofit based in San Francisco with offices all over Asia. I headed their office in Jakarta for three years in the 1980s, and in Pakistan in the ‘90s, working with Afghan refugees.

After teaching in Colorado for a year and a half, my husband and I joined the Peace Corps and went to Pakistan. All our friends were going to Nepal, and they said, “Oh, you know all these climbers are going to Nepal in the Peace Corps—you’ve got to sign up.” Well, we signed up, but it was Pakistan that wanted engineers, and my husband, Gene, was an engineer. So we went to Pakistan. We were lucky to be assigned to Peshawar: We could see a 22,000-foot peak from our little two-room apartment. We stayed on for another three and a half years after our two years as volunteers.

All this time we were always climbing, whenever we could. I started climbing in Colorado, then spent a year in Europe climbing in the Alps. In 1961 Gene and I made a grand foray of skiing in the Alps for a couple of months, then drove down to the Middle East and eventually to East Africa, where we climbed Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya. We climbed all the time in Pakistan, and since we also lived for five years in Indonesia,


we climbed a lot of volcanoes there. As far as Asia is concerned, I think I always prefered the mountains in Pakistan to Nepal: the Pakistan mountains are so rugged. I used to really enjoy going to Tuolumne and the Tetons, and we went to South America three or four times. When he died, my husband had this list of 1,320 summits—156 over 14,000 feet—and I was on most of those. When we joined the American Alpine Club in 1962, you had to be nominated by two people, and you had to present a climbing resume. It was quite exclusive in those early years. We managed to drop into the headquarters in New York a few times, in that charming old fire house, before they moved to Colorado. You know, the Club was dominated by men, but I found that people were very open; I didn’t feel out of place or anything. Within the Colorado group, meetings tended to involve people showing slides of their climbs and talking about their mountaineering, then sharing a meal and drinks—a pretty friendly gathering. The group in the Bay Area used to have an annual dinner, and in the ‘70s and ‘80s it was always a potluck. There was a core of very active women in the American Alpine Club there. A big change was to open the Club’s membership so that anyone could join if they wanted to be a member: they didn’t have to be nominated, or qualify in any way. That was a change in the nature of the organization. Probably for the good, though there are some old timers who probably still object. I think a Club with a voice is important to support. Joining a group is the way to have a voice in policy decisions that will affect everyone who wants to enjoy the mountains. I think the AAC is a great organization, and should continue to work with others, such as environmental groups, to enhance its conservation impact. Then there’s the personal enjoyment of meeting people—Member Share is very useful. I’m looking here at my dining room shelves, and we have the British Alpine Journal, the Canadian Alpine Journal, and the American Alpine Journal. They’re all just wonderful to have as records of what’s going on in the mountains.

I like summiting mountains more than just rock climbing. There’s so much beautiful terrain to be out in, and you need to at least have the skills to get over the rough spots. Many weekends we were off exploring some ridge in Pakistan. There certainly wasn’t anyone who was going to come rescue us there. A wonderful thing about climbing and mountaineering as a hobby is you can adjust it: When you’re young and strong you can run up fourteen-thousand-foot peaks and maybe hang from one finger and put your heel above your head. Then, when you get older and have small children, you can just go to base camp and help them climb little boulders. And as you get old, you can just happily look at the mountains with your cup of tea.

The Club’s efforts to promote safety and responsibility are important, as more and more people go into the mountains. Plus, this relatively recent phenomenon of people learning to climb in a gym means there is an important education component that needs to be addressed.

I’m always amazed and pleased to see these young women doing fantastic things. Lynn Hill, Catherine Destivelle, that’s sort of the older generation. Now the younger generation is even further ahead. I think it’s wonderful that climbing’s become much more egalitarian, and women are pushing the barriers forward.

I love the beauty of the mountains, and I love exercise: I was also involved in running to stay in shape for climbing and did lots of running races and marathons all over the place. I actually ran the Islamabad triathlon, and I won the women’s division. I have a different psychology perhaps than a lot of climbers in that I tend to look for the easiest, shortest way to get up something, rather than the hardest, but I did learn to be a fairly competent rock climber. I never did anything harder than about 5.8 or 5.9. I was never very good in the gym. I cheated: Gene and others always said, “She does rainbow routes.” “Oh, I’ll just use this green hold even though I’m on the red route,” I would say.

To young climbers today, I would say: be safe, push your limits (but not too far), and keep some balance in your life, because it is possible to be a climber and also have a family and a profession if that’s what you want to do. Enjoy yourself, make friends, and take care of each other. Interview has been edited and condensed. Elizabeth "Betsy" White is an AAC member living in Berkeley, CA.


a AAC member Ken Etzel @ken_etzel

Membership has its benefits. From discounts on major outdoor gear brands to international rescue benefits, from the American Alpine Journal to the Live Your Dream grant, here at the AAC we look out for each other. Read on to discover how to utilize your membership benefits, connect with your local community and volunteer efforts, and learn more about the dedicated work the Club does around the country for the good of all climbers. United We Climb.


2017 ANNUAL REPORT When I took the helm at the AAC in 2005, we looked inward and asked: Who do we represent? Who do we want to be in the future? The answer came back consistently: we want to be the Club for all climbers.

us deepen our commitment to change. Our Craggin’ Classic events are meant to connect local climbing communities across the nation. This attention to grassroots needs and changing community creates a platform for conversation, learning, and conservation that now vies with our Annual Benefit Dinner for financial results. These events are emblematic of the balance we strive for: honoring our heritage as a Club while welcoming fresh outlooks and continuing to proactively evolve.

We had long been associated with expedition climbers and alpinists. We talked of reaching summits—often by new and difficult routes—as the culmination of a dedication to climbing. We spent decades honoring achievement within the narrow mountaineering community, while the sport of climbing was subdividing into a multitude of specialties, each with its own culture. Looking back, it may not have seemed momentous for us to give our Underhill award for climbing achievement to John Gill in 2008 for advancing bouldering, but for the AAC, it was a significant nod to the evolving and multifaceted nature of our identity. In 2011, we reaffirmed this direction and the organization’s growth accelerated. Mountaineering became just one of many ways for people to engage with the Club. We changed the name of Accidents in North American Mountaineering to Accidents in North American Climbing. Our efforts to keep up with this landscape demanded a board, staff, and volunteers who could represent and reflect the new dynamics in climbing. We revised our mission and vision to reflect who we strived to be.

I firmly believe that the fiscal health, membership growth, and the array of other successes listed below has been made possible by the changing complexion of our volunteers across the nation and the concerted effort by our board to develop variety within its ranks. So much of what we have done seems inconsequential by itself. Together, small moves create change, and today, the AAC is more open, more inviting and more capable of taking even bolder steps in the years ahead. We’ve been able to bring our traditional membership and leadership along on this path. There have been debates, hiccups, and missteps—and there will be more, but the AAC is a very different place than it was a decade ago. We must continue to forge ahead in these new directions. We have begun the journey, and I am proud of how far we’ve come. Thank you each for the role you play in where we’ve been and where we’re heading.

We actively sought women to lead and found how difficult it can be to change a culture—like that of our board or staff—and make those changes stick. The results of our steps towards inclusion have brought nothing but good news. Our 20,000 members bring a diversity of thought, location, climbing interest and political point of view that helps


Phil Powers CEO


50 x 50 Convened in Washington, D.C. with 50 climbers to attend 50 meetings with legislators and agency leaders

23,000 Comments submitted for the protection of Bears Ears National Monument

$50,000 Dollars awarded in Cornerstone and Research grants for conservation projects and for scientific endeavors in mountains and crags around the world

2,660 Climbers gathered across the country at our local Craggin’ Classic Series events

ADDITIONALLY, WE: ཀྵཀྵ H osted a panel discussion with Paiute leaders at our Bishop Craggin’ Classic event ཀྵཀྵ W orked to increase visual representation of all climbers across digital channels ཀྵཀྵ D eveloped women-specific clinics at each of our Craggin' Classic Series events ཀྵཀྵ F eatured the first female on the AAJ cover ཀྵཀྵ A ppointed Deanne Buck as our new—and second—female board president







ཀྵཀྵ F eatured our first female keynote at the Annual Benefit Dinner


ཀྵཀྵ D eveloped a member composition task force


ཀྵཀྵ B egan developing an educationspecific grant to cultivate the leaders and role models of tomorrow

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017






144 Live Your Dream grant projects funded with over $70,000 awarded in 2017



12.3% Contributions/Grants

Membership Other



19 - 25 26 - 30 18 or Younger 31 - 40 41 - 50 51 - 60 61+

25,844 Nights spent under the stars at the AAC’s five campgrounds



REVENUE $4,035,873

26% General/Admin



EXPENSES $3,809,029






Liuyong Bang (aka Abond) climbs Spicy Dumpling (9a) at White Mountain in Yangshuo, China. AAC member Jon Glassberg @jonglassberg

a There's no age limit for new experiences! Michel ClĂŠment, 81 years old, enjoys his first psicobloc session. La Ciotat, France. AAC member Jan Novak @jan_novak_photography

network of folks who have opted in to share resources or meet up. It’s completely optional and a great way to meet people in your local climbing community or around the country. By opting in, you can:

MEMBERSHIP Join the Community

Together, we share a passion for climbing. When you join the AAC, you’re part of a community that’s making a big difference. We support each other with rescue coverage, publications, discounts, lodging facilities, conservation projects, advocacy, education, grants, and more. Regular: $80/year (on auto-renew) $85 single year. Our most popular plan.

ཀྵཀྵ fi nd a climbing partner ཀྵཀྵ find a couch to sleep on during your next climbing trip ཀྵཀྵ search local discounts on gyms, guide services, and gear shops ཀྵཀྵ sync up your Mountain Project ticklist To access Member Share, sign in at profile.americanalpineclub.org.

Social Media facebook.com/americanalpineclub

Student: $45/year (on auto-renew) $50 single year. Member must be currently enrolled at an accredited institution.

instagram.com/americanalpine twitter.com/americanalpine youtube.com/AmericanAlpineClub

Family: $80 for first adult, $65 for second adult; $30 for each child (auto-renew) Additional $5/year for single-year plans. Options for one or two adults (18+) plus minors. All members receive full benefits, but we send only one set of publications. Introductory: $45/six months First-time members only. Plan automatically renews at $80/year upon expiration.


Your tax-deductible gift to the American Alpine Club helps members and volunteers pursue the mission and core programs of the Club. From conservation to competency, your donation will work to protect the climbing experience for years to come. Options for giving include a one-time gift, monthly giving, matched gift, stock donation, combined federal campaign, or Great Ranges Fellowship contribution.

Visit membership.americanalpineclub.org/join or call (303) 384-0110 and press 0.


Visit americanalpineclub.org/ways-to-give or email us at give@americanalpineclub.org to donate or learn more about your preferred method of support.

Member Profile

Visit your online profile at profile.americanalpineclub.org, where you can:

Piolet Society

The Piolet Society honors those who remember the AAC in their estate plans. Most estate gifts come as a bequest through a will or living trust, or as a beneficiary designation of an IRA or life insurance policy. Each of these options allows you to retain full control of your assets during life. Through the Piolet Society, you can leave a legacy as timeless as the mountains themselves.

ཀྵཀྵ a ccess your exclusive discounts and benefits ཀྵཀྵ access your digital membership card and proof of membership ཀྵཀྵ donate to the Club ཀྵཀྵ access Member Share & connect with other members ཀྵཀྵ update your account settings

For more information about charitable estate planning, or to join the Piolet Society, please contact us at (303) 384-0110 or give@americanalpineclub.org.

Member Share

Meet climbers. Go climbing. Share beta. Developed by the AAC to connect local Club members, Member Share is a community


Great Ranges Fellowship

The Great Ranges Fellowship (GRF) brings our donor-members together with exclusive events and trips, timely insider communications, 12 complementary months of regular membership dues, increased access to staff, and more. At the AAC, we value every gift—no matter its size. In recognition of our most generous donors, we’ve created this program. The GRF provides consistent benefits, recognition, and communication to donors at various levels. Most gifts qualify toward annual membership in the GRF including those directed toward key operating programs such as the American Alpine Journal, Accidents in North American Climbing, the American Alpine Club Library, the Grand Teton Climbers’ Ranch, and grant programs. The program does not include Corporate Partners, Media Partners, or fiduciary programs such as expedition support. POWERED BY: Teewinot Fellow: $1,000 ཀྵཀྵ exclusive GRF branded Patagonia vest ཀྵཀྵ recognition in the American Alpine Journal ཀྵཀྵ recognition in the Guidebook to Membership ཀྵཀྵ subscription to Alpinist magazine ཀྵཀྵ inclusion on the Fellowship insider email

GET INVOLVED Volunteers are the backbone and lifeblood of the American Alpine Club. Since the Club’s founding, volunteerism has guided every major idea, decision, effort, and achievement. We are an organization founded, influenced, and supported by dedicated and competent volunteer leaders. AAC volunteers help to carry the fire, working on a grassroots level in climbing communities around the country connecting members through events, film showings, crag stewardship, outings, gatherings, and education. AAC volunteers do everything: preside over the Board of Directors, organize crag stewardship projects, host community gatherings, sit on grant selection committees, implement AAC education initiatives, contribute to the AAJ and ANAC, pour beers at events, and more! To learn more about Club volunteer opportunities, visit americanalpineclub.org/volunteer and get connected!

Robson Fellow: $2,500 ཀྵཀྵ all the benefits of Teewinot Fellow ཀྵཀྵ invitation for 2 to VIP Reception at the Annual Benefit Dinner with purchase of tickets Alpamayo Fellow: $5,000 ཀྵཀྵ all the benefits of Robson Fellow ཀྵཀྵ a limited-edition hardcover American Alpine Journal ཀྵཀྵ 2 AAC gift memberships to share with friends, family Eiger Fellow: $10,000 ཀྵཀྵ all the benefits of Alpamayo Fellow ཀྵཀྵ 2 additional (4 total) invitations to the VIP reception at the Annual Benefit Dinner with purchase of tickets ཀྵཀྵ 2 additional (4 total) AAC gift memberships to share with your friends and family

Club Sections & Chapters

Sections are geographical areas—states or groups of states— that organize members based on regional location. Chapters are smaller, more localized organizations within the American Alpine Club, and operate at a truly grassroots level in communities nationwide. Sections and Chapters work separately and collectively to connect climbers through social functions, climbing outings, film showings, educational events, and more.

Learn more at americanalpineclub.org/great-ranges-fellowship.

a [Opposite from top] Club member Dave Allfrey explains big-wall

If you’d like to learn more about AAC Section and Chapter activities in your area, locate your Section page through americanalpineclub.org/regions and contact your local section or chapter chair. Don’t have a local Chapter in your area? Would you like to start one? Email Volunteer Program Manager Eddie Espinosa at eespinosa@americanalpineclub.org.

rigging systems to AAC clinic participants in Devil's Lake, WI. Matt Kuehl @mattkuehlphoto; Getting down and funky at the much-anticipated annual dance party at the New River Gorge Craggin’ Classic. Kevin Umbal @kevinumbelphotography; Club volunteers perform important trail work on access to the Happy Boulders in Bishop, CA. Jeff Reuppel @jeffrueppel; Members gather around the campfire, sharing stories of the sharp end (and maybe some whiskey, too). Gabe Dewitt @6abe


2018 VOLUNTEER LEADERSHIP Adam Hartman Adam Selby Adi Azulay Aidan Multhauf Alex Wildman Alina Zagaytova Allison Hendricks Ally Imbody Andrew Puhl Asa Firestone Ash Gambhir Avi Rubinsky Barry Rusnock Ben Howard Ben Watson Bill Thompson Blake Summers Brian Deitch Brian Peters Byron Harvison Casey Allen Chris Falkensten Chris Mutzel Cindi Squire Claudia Rodriguez Clint Helander Colin Holt

Cory Johnson Dan Cheyhal Danny Firer Danny McCracken Danny McGee Dave Giacomin Diane Kearns Dillon Parker Dominic Metcalf Eli Berko Emily Cumberland Eric O’Rafferty Erin Lynch Erin Schneider Garrett Gossett Heather Stuckless Howard Sebold Jason Luthy Jeff Rueppel Jeff Snyder Jennifer Kane Jeremy Bowler Jeremy Collins Jim Kunz Joey Daoud John Richardson John Tarkington

2018 SECTION LISTING Alaska S. Appalachian  (VA, NC, SC) Arizona Cascade  (WA) Deep South  ( TN, AL, MS, GA, FL)

Front Range  (East CO) Great Lakes  ( MI, IN, OH) Hawaii Heartland   (OK, AR, KS, MO) Idaho Metro New York Mid-Atlantic  (PA, NJ, DE) Midwest  (IL, WI, MN, IA) Montana

New England  ( ME, VT, NH, MA, CT, RI)

New Mexico North Central  (ND, SD, NE) Oregon Sierra Nevada  ( NorCal, North NV)

Southwest  ( SoCal, South NV) Texas Utah Upstate New York Washington D.C. Western Slope  (West CO) Wyoming

Jomah Fangonilo Julie Farley Katie Kelly Kevin Dugan Kevin Pandeross Kristin Nute Lee Jenkins Levi Wilkins Lindsay Bullis Mario Stanley Mark Jobman Matt Carter Matt Hopkins Matthew Arevain Matty Bowman Max Bellemare Meghan Kahnle Micah Rush Michael Kidder Michelle Xue Mitch Dorsk Myung Jin-Oh Nancy Savickas Nate Allen Nick Bourdon Paul Hendricks Pavel Kostadinov

Peter Minearo Pierre Dery Preston Corless Rachel Hess Rick DeJarnette Rick Merritt Rob Mascarenas Robert Lavarnway Rodel Querbin Ryan Smith Sam Masters Sam Nies Samantha Heim Scott Petrie Shawn Ryan Shingo Ohkawa Spencer Johnson Steve Kirk Steve Schreader Todd Mullenix Tom Cecil Tony Yeary Topher Davis Will Leith Zack Ready

2018 CHAPTER LISTING Arkansas, AR Asheville, NC Austin, TX Baltimore, MD Boston, MA Boulder, CO Central PA Charleston, SC Charlotte, NC Chicago, IL Columbia, SC D.C. University Denver, CO Durango, CO Flagstaff, AZ Santa Monica, CA Los Padres, CA Miami, FL North Texas Sandhills, NC New Hampshire N. New Jersey Northern VA

Northern Texas Oklahoma City, OK Philly, PA Phoenix, AZ Pittsburg, PA Richmond, VA Sacramento, CA San Diego, CA San Francisco, CA Sawtooth, ID SE Michigan Seneca Rocks, WV Salt Lake, UT S. Carolina  Highlands Tahoe, CA Triad, NC Triangle, NC Tucson, AZ Tulsa, OK Twin Cities, MN West Michigan


Climb the Hill

EVENTS The AAC brings our community together at hundreds of events throughout the year. From the very large, such as the Annual Benefit Dinner, which attracts members from across the country to enjoy fine dining with climbing legends, to the very small, such as locally organized chapter movie and beer nights, all AAC events offer good times with a great community. Club members enjoy discounted access to most events. To learn more about upcoming AAC events, visit americanalpineclub.org/aac-events.

The American Alpine Club and Access Fund have teamed up to represent climbers in Washington, D.C. for our annual Climb the Hill event. We met with Members of Congress and agency officials to advocate for the protection of public lands, to support outdoor recreation, and to improve climbing management policies. ཀྵཀྵ 2019: Washington, D.C. May (TBA)

Excellence in Climbing Celebration

Raise a glass with the American Alpine Club in celebration of climbers who give back. Dine, drink, and dance as we recognize inspirational climbing heroes whose achievements make the world a better place. ཀྵཀྵ 2019: Denver, CO. June (TBA)

International Climbers’ Meet

Spend a week climbing and dining in the country’s most iconic climbing destination, Yosemite Valley, with climbers from every corner of the globe. ICM participants have the opportunity to climb classic Yosemite routes, learn and improve their skills with provided climbing clinics, and give back to the park through conservation projects hosted by the National Park Service. ཀྵཀྵ 2018: Yosemite National Park, CA. Oct. 7–14

Hueco Rock Rodeo





For over 25 years this two-day competition has been a staple for boulderers all over the world to test their mettle amongst some of the best problems in the U.S. The Club is proud to host and organize this annual tradition at Hueco Tanks, working closely with Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site and Climbers of Hueco Tanks Coalition to ensure that fun times are hand-in-hand with park regulations and respect to this historic desert area.


Craggin’ Classic Series

Gather ‘round the campfire, pass the whiskey bottle, and howl at the moon: the Craggin’ Classic Series is coming to a crag near you! These special three-day festivals, each held in a world-class destination, celebrate all things climbing and feature clinics taught by professional athletes and guides, beer from local breweries, films, slideshows, comps and games, presentations, music, food, raffles, silent auctions, vendor villages, crag stewardship projects, and great people! A climbing event for climbers, by climbers.

ཀྵཀྵ 2019: El Paso, TX. Feb. (TBA)

Annual Benefit Dinner

Each year, AAC members, athletes, and industry leaders gather to recognize the year’s Climbing Awardees and celebrate the AAC community. The Annual Benefit Weekend involves a packed schedule—a party at the local gym, panels and presentations, reception, gala, inspirational speakers, and more.

POWERED BY: For up-to-date information on the Series events, including details on clinics, athletes, comps, and more visit cragginclassic.com.

ཀྵཀྵ 2019: San Francisco, CA. March 8–10, 2019

2018 Series Lineup: ཀྵཀྵ ཀྵཀྵ ཀྵཀྵ ཀྵཀྵ ཀྵཀྵ ཀྵཀྵ ཀྵཀྵ

Smith Rock, OR Sept. 14–16 New River Gorge, WV Sept. 21–23 Rumney, NH Oct. 5–7 Devil’s Lake, WI Oct. 12–14 Shelf Road, CO Oct. 19–21 Moab, UT Oct. 26–28 Bishop, CA Nov. 2–4

Section Dinners, Chapter Gatherings, etc.

Stay up to date on other local happenings—including section dinners, presentations, movie nights, and more—by keeping an eye on your section emails and the AAC events calendar at americanalpineclub.org/aac-events/.



a Phil Simonet ascends the classic West Ridge of Mount Dickey in the Ruth Gorge, AK. AAC member Zach Lovell @thealpinelife

ADDITIONAL DISCOUNTS* Asana Big Agnes Black Diamond  apparel BlueCosmo  Satellite  Communications Boulder Denim Dry Ice Tools Feathered Friends Gnarly Nutrition

DISCOUNTS AAC members enjoy discounts on gear, lodging, gym memberships, guide services, and more.* For the most up-todate list of discounts, as well as information on how to redeem them, log in to your profile at profile.americanalpineclub.org and visit the members-only discount section.


Feathered Friends Seattle, WA Ascent Outdoors Seattle, WA

15% off, with restrictions

The Mountain Shop Portland, OR 40% off

40% off

40% off

40% off

40% off

Down Wind Sports Marquette, MI

15% off

50% off

Patagonia New York, NY, Boulder & Denver locations only Anvil Crash Pad Rentals Chattanooga & Atlanta

Rockwerx Barre, MA GreenLife Adventure Sports Norfolk & Glen Allen

Rock and Snow New Paltz, NY


15% off

20% off

NEMO Equipment Sharp End  Publishing Slumberjack Top of the World  Books Ultimate Direction Vertical Medicine  Resources Voke Tabs Y&Y Belay Glasses


Enjoy these great discounts from our partners, brands you use and love every day when climbing, skiing, or just hanging out.

20% off

Gneiss Apparel  Supply Co. Himali Huckberry iClimb.com Insta-Bed Kelty Lowe Alpine Mammut Mountain Gear Mountain Tools

AAC members also have access to discounts on over 300 more brands through expertvoice.com (formerly experticity.com). To join the AAC’s ExpertVoice team, follow the instructions detailed on the Gear Discounts page of your online profile at profile.americanalpineclub.org.

48% off


20% off

15% off

25% off CAMP Outlet

10% off

20% off

30% off

1 year (4 issues): $29.95 2 years (8 issues): $54.95

1 year (8 issues): $9.95

1 year (10 issues): $12.95

1 year (2 issues): $13.98

*Gear discounts are subject to change and restrictions may apply. Discount percentages listed are approximations and may not apply to every product. Though we try to provide you with accurate information, we cannot guarantee you will receive the discount rates listed here or on our website.

40% off


GYM DISCOUNTS* Boston Rock Gym Woburn, MA Initiation fee waived; $50/ month with no contract; Intro to Climbing and Learn to Lead: $25 Boulderdash Indoor Rock Climbing Thousand Oaks, CA Initiation fee waived Boulder Rock Club Boulder, CO $62/month on ARB; $685/year Brooklyn Boulders Brooklyn, NY; Long Island City, NY; Chicago, IL; Somerville, MA Initiation fee waived; 15% off membership; $25 day pass with gear Climb Nashville Nashville, TN 10% off membership The Crag at Cool Springs Franklin and Nashville $11 day package Earth Treks Climbing Centers Columbia, MD; Timonium, MD; Rockville, MD; Golden, CO 50% off initiation fee Edgeworks Climbing Gym Tacoma, WA 50% off initiation fee; 10% off individual monthly rate Evolution Rock & Fitness Concord, NH 15% off three-month pass Flagstaff Climbing Center Flagstaff, AZ 50% off initiation fee

GP81 Brooklyn, NY Initiation fee waived; 15% off day passes

Petra Cliffs Burlington, VT Initiation fee waived; 20% off monthly pass; 20% off day pass; First visit free

Granite Arch Climbing Center Rancho Cordova, CA $2 off day pass & $45 monthly pass

Phoenix Rock Gym Tempe, AZ 10% off two-week pass; 10% monthly pass; 10% off quarterly pass; 10% off semi-annual pass; 10% off annual pass

The Gravity Vault All Locations 10% off day pass Green Mountain Rock Climbing Center Rutland, VT; Hartland, VT 10% off annual pass; 10% off monthly pass; 10% off day pass; 10% off guided trips Hangar 18 Hawthorne, CA; Riverside, CA; Upland, CA $10 day & $33 monthly pass High Point Climbing and Fitness Chattanooga, Birmingham $2 off adult day pass Mesa Rim Climbing and Fitness Centers San Diego, CA; Reno, NV (coming soon) Initiation fee waived

Peak Experiences Midlothian, VA $60 monthly membership


Stone Summit Atlanta, GA; Kennesaw, GA 10% off all options Tennessee Bouldering Authority Chattanooga, TN $10 day passes

Rock Fitness Gym Wildomar, CA Initiation fee waived; 20% off monthly membership; 20% off day pass

Threshold Climbing & Fitness Gym Riverside, CA Initiation fee waived; $5 day pass

Rocknasium Davis, CA $12 day pass; $42 monthly pass; $462 annual pass

Touchstone Climbing & Fitness All Locations $25 initiation fee

Rock’n & Jam’n Thornton, CO; Centennial, CO 10% off day pass; 10% off monthly pass; 10% off paidin-full memberships

Urban Rocks Chattanooga, TN 10% off membership

Sanctuary Rock Gym Sand City, CA $12 day pass; $45 monthly membership with no initiation fee

New Jersey Rock Gym Fairfield, NJ 10% off day pass

Sender One Climbing Santa Ana, CA Initiation fee waived

Planet Granite Belmont, CA; San Francisco, CA; Sunnyvale; CA Initiation fee waived

Salt Pump Climbing Company Scarborough, ME 10% off day pass; 10% off punch cards; 10% off membership

MetroRock Rock Climbing Centers Boston, MA; Newburyport, MA; Essex, VT; Brooklyn, NY (coming soon) Initiation fee waived; $14 day pass

Seattle Bouldering Project Seattle, WA 10% off monthly membership; $10 day pass during Send and Social events

Vertical Heaven Ventura, CA Initiation fee waived; $35 monthly pass; $7 day pass Vertical World All locations Initiation fee waived Vital Climbing Gym Carlsbad, CA; Murrieta, CA; Bellingham, WA $5 off monthly pass Warehouse Rock Gym Olympia, WA 10% off membership; 10% off day pass

GUIDE SERVICES DISCOUNTS* The AAC partners with the following guide services to offer discounts on instruction and guided trips both in the U.S. and abroad: Alaska Mountain Guides and  Climbing School Alaska Mountaineering School Alpine Ascents International Alpine Skills International Alpine World Ascents American Alpine Institute Chicks Climbing and Skiing The Climbing Life Guides Colorado Mountain School Denver Mountain Guiding Devil’s Lake Climbing Guides

Erratic Rock Exum Mountain Guides Fox Mountain Guides High Peaks Mountain Guides International Mountain  Guides Jackson Hole Mountain  Guides Kingdom Adventures  Mountain Guides Longleaf Wilderness  Medicine

Mountain Gurus Mountain Madness New River Mountain Guides Northeast Mountaineering Northwest Alpine Guides San Juan Mountain Guides Southwest Adventure Guides Thomson Kilimanjaro Treks  & Wildlife Safaris Vertical Medicine Resources

For specifics on discounts offered and more information on the guide services that support us, visit americanalpineclub.org/guides.


DOMESTIC Hans’s Basecamp Yosemite National Park, CA Appalachian Mountain Club Huts and Lodges Various locations, NH, ME, NJ The Notch Hostel North Woodstock, NH Mazama Lodge Mt. Hood, OR

High Peaks Mountain Guides Guides’ House Lake Placid, NY The Keene Farm Adirondack Forest Reserve near Keene, NY The Crash Pad Chattanooga, TN Wexler Hut Seneca Rocks, WV

Bentwood Inn Wilson, WY The Alpine House Jackson, WY Double Diamond X Ranch Cody, WY

INTERNATIONAL Sorcerer Lodge Golden, British Columbia, Canada Refugio Cochamo Cochamo, Chile

Turpin Meadow Ranch Moran, WY Hotel Engine Up to 60% off accommodations nationwide.

For more information on specific discounts, visit americanalpineclub.org/aac-lodging-network.

HUT DISCOUNTS* AAC members enjoy discounted access at huts owned and operated by alpine clubs around the globe, including the UIAA huts in Europe, the New Zealand Alpine Club’s huts, and the Alpine Club of Canada’s huts. AAC members are automatically eligible for the same rate as NZAC and ACC members at most huts in New Zealand and Canada; AAC members may choose to purchase a hut stamp for UIAA huts in Europe, where rates vary by country. To learn how to purchase hut upgrades, visit americanalpineclub.org/aac-lodging-network#huts. *Discounts are subject to change and restrictions may apply. Discount percentages listed are approximations and may not apply to every product. Though we try to provide you with accurate information, we cannot guarantee you will receive the discount rates listed here or on our website.


a Climbers seek refuge in the Space Station, Joshua Tree National Park, CA. AAC member Ken Etzel. @ken_etzel

AAC members enjoy discounted rates at several lodging establishments throughout the U.S. and internationally, including:

AAC LODGING The AAC is committed to building and maintaining facilities for climbers in popular climbing destinations across the country. Members enjoy reduced rates at these facilities. For information on additional lodging options, visit americanalpineclub.org/aac-lodging-network.

Grand Teton Climbers’ Ranch

Moose, WY Located just south of Jenny Lake and four miles north of Park Headquarters, the GTCR offers the most affordable and accessible lodging for climbers visiting Grand Teton National Park. Book your stay at americanalpineclub.org/grand-teton-climbers-ranch.

Gunks Campground

Gardiner, NY The Gunks Campground, located near the Trapps/Near Trapps Climbing, includes 50 drive-in and walk-in campsites. Book your stay at americanalpineclub.org/gunks-campground.

Hueco Rock Ranch

El Paso, TX Located just three miles from Hueco Tanks, the Ranch offers climbers both bunk-style accommodations and tent sites near some of the best bouldering on the planet. Book your stay at americanalpineclub.org/hueco-rock-ranch.

New River Gorge Campground

Fayetteville, WV The AAC campground at the New River Gorge resides on a 40-acre parcel adjacent to National Park land and within walking distance of popular crags. Book your stay at americanalpineclub.org/new-river-gorge-campground.

Rumney Rattlesnake Campground

Rumney, NH The AAC’s newest campground is located across the street from the main parking lot for Rumney Rocks, the best sport climbing in the Northeast. Tent sites and bunk-style accommodations are available. For more information, visit americanalpineclub.org/rumney-rattlesnake-campground.

Snowbird Hut

Hatcher Pass in the Talkeetna Range, AK The Alaska Section’s Snowbird Hut is beautifully situated in the Talkeetna Mountains on the northern edge of the Snowbird Glacier. The hut is open to the public at no cost. For more information, visit americanalpineclub.org/snowbird-hut.


a Olivia Hsu climbing in 3D on Tufadango (8a+) at Twin Caves in Leonidio, Greece. AAC member Jeff Rueppel @jeffrueppel

American Alpine Journal

Published annually since 1929, the 384-page AAJ documents mountain exploration and the world’s most significant climbs and first ascents. With hundreds of first-person reports and photos, the AAJ provides an essential historical record and a feast of inspiration.

RESCUE AAC membership qualifies you for rescue benefits in case things go wrong during any human-powered, land-based activity beyond the trailhead. With up to $12,500 available, we’ve got you covered.

Accidents in North American Climbing

Accidents in North American Climbing is a 128-page book that documents notable climbing and ski-mountaineering accidents each year. In this keystone of the Club’s educational mission, climbers, rangers, rescue professionals, and editors analyze what went wrong so you can learn from others’ mistakes.

Trailhead Rescue

ཀྵཀྵ $7,500 in global coverage, including the U.S. ཀྵཀྵ No elevation restriction ཀྵཀྵ To use the Trailhead Rescue Benefit, members must call Global Rescue at (617) 459-4200 as soon as possible during an emergency

The Sharp End Podcast POWERED BY:

Domestic Rescue Benefit

In 2016, Accidents launched the Sharp End podcast, hosted by Ashley Saupe and presented by Mammut. Each month, Ashley interviews a climber, ranger, or rescuer for stories about serious climbing and skiing accidents. Join the 30,000 people who listen to the Sharp End each month—find it wherever you listen to podcasts.

ཀྵཀྵ U p to $5,000 in reimbursement for out-of-pocket rescue expenses within the U.S. only—Canada and Mexico excluded ཀྵཀྵ File a claim within 60 days of rescue by emailing claims@americanalpineclub.org or by calling (303) 384-0110 ཀྵཀྵ Medical and ambulatory expenses do not qualify ཀྵཀྵ Reimbursement subject to verification and approval

The Cutting Edge Podcast POWERED BY:

Rescues in 2017: 31 members were rescued thanks to the Trailhead Rescue Benefit.

The brand-new Cutting Edge podcast brings AAJ reports to life, featuring in-depth interviews with the world’s greatest climbers. Each month an AAJ editor speaks with a climber just home from a cutting-edge expedition, highlighting the tactics, techniques, and epic moments of great new climbs. Hosted by AAJ editor in chief Dougald MacDonald and presented by Hilleberg the Tentmaker.

Upgrade: AAC members may upgrade to a full Global Rescue membership at a 5% discount. Learn more at americanalpineclub.org/rescue or call 1-800-381-9571.


The Henry S. Hall Jr. American Alpine Club Library provides you with all the information you could ever want on mountain culture, history, and climbing routes. Our staff and volunteers are happy to assist with research and trip planning in person or electronically. Our home base in Golden, CO houses more than 50,000 books and videos, plus countless archives and is one of the world’s finest mountain collections. Contact library@americanalpineclub.org for information.

PUBLICATIONS & RESOURCES Print editions of the American Alpine Journal and Accidents in North American Climbing are delivered each summer as part of your membership. Digital copies of the books are available anytime through your online profile.


AAC members can borrow up to 10 items (five max audiovisual items) at a time for 35 days. Books may be checked out online and sent anywhere in the U.S. You pay only for return shipping. Use our online Guidebook Finder to check out the guidebook you need for your next trip at americanalpineclub.org/guidebooks or search the full catalog at booksearch.americanalpineclub.org.

If you’d like to help the AAC save resources, you can opt out of receiving print copies by visiting your account settings at profile.americanalpineclub.org. To search for any article in the AAJ or Accidents, or to share your own story, visit publications.americanalpineclub.org.


Eagle Rock, opening roughly 50 climbing routes, as well as boulder problems.


Explore is a community resource that shares the AAC’s special and digital collections online and organizes them into exhibits, from the history of the Yeti to the story of the 1966 American Antarctic Mountaineering Expedition. Check out online exhibits at americanalpineclub.org/explore and browse the digital collections at library.americanalpineclub.org.

ཀྵཀྵ S alt Lake Climbers Alliance $7,000 Gate Buttress, Little Cottonwood Canyon, UT Towards the Gate Buttress Project, providing climbing infrastructure including replacement of fixed anchors.


A joint venture of the American Alpine Club and Colorado Mountain Club, the Bradford Washburn American Mountaineering Museum in Golden, CO, is the only museum in the U.S. dedicated exclusively to mountaineering and rock climbing. The museum hosts rotating exhibits and showcases a scale model of Mt. Everest, the ice axe Pete Schoening used to save five falling climbers on K2 in 1953, and equipment from the first American ascent of Mt. Everest. Stop by to browse at your leisure, or join us for one of our monthly happy hours. For information visit mountaineeringmuseum.org.

ཀྵཀྵ O uray Ice Park, Inc., $5,000 Ouray Ice Park, CO Funding supports the Ouray Ice Park Ecosystem Assessment and Stewardship Plan, intended to sustainably manage the forests, soils, and waters in and around the Ouray Ice Park.

EDUCATION The AAC has been at the leading edge of climbing education since we began publishing Accidents in North American Climbing in 1948 (see page 59). Today our education team is focused on these objectives:


ཀྵཀྵ T rain great instructors. We’re collaborating with regional clubs and volunteer climbing instructors to standardize our systems. As the member federation of the UIAA, the AAC is leading a coalition of volunteer climbing instructors to meet international training standards. Our goal is simple: if you teach climbing on a volunteer basis, we want to validate your hard work and provide resources so that the content you teach to the next generation of climbers is authentic, modern, and accurate.

The AAC was founded, and still exists, because the mountains hold great power. Climbers know that standing on a pristine summit and looking out across the vast unknown is a magical and life-changing experience. From Yosemite’s sterling granite walls to the committing ocean cliffs of Acadia National Park, protected public lands are vitally important to our craft. But right now, we are experiencing unprecedented attacks to the places we cherish that threaten climbing and the fundamental notion that our public commons belong to everyone. As a community, we have a responsibility to safeguard our fragile mountain and climbing environments. The AAC policy team is working with partners, lawmakers, and agency leaders to address issues facing climbers and outdoor recreation—specifically to keep public lands public, adequately resourced, and open to human-powered recreation. Beyond that, the Club works in your backyard, alongside local climbing organizations to help keep your crag clean, maintained, and sustainable. The Cornerstone Conservation Grant, powered by REI and run by the AAC Policy team, empowers climbing communities with funding and volunteers to create lasting, healthy climbing landscapes (see page 62). Some 2017 recipients include: ཀྵཀྵ C arolina Climbers Coalition, $5,000 Eagle Rock, Chimney Rock State Park, NC & SC To fund a sustainably built trail leading to the base of


ཀྵཀྵ E ducate through media. Our videos, online articles, and print articles tackle some of the most contagious misunderstandings in American climbing. We also promote ground-breaking research and researchers, help chapters create and refine educational resources and curricula, and are available to answer questions from any member about the lingering mysteries of best practice, historic practice, and the wide variety and variation in between. If you’ve got a climbing question, our content and staff are here to help. ཀྵཀྵ Teach locally. AAC’s education team is training your local chapters and equipping them with educators, innovators, and mentors. We want every AAC Chapter to instigate learning and inspire curiosity through localized and volunteer-based education. If you are a qualified climbing educator or think you could be a great educator with a little more training, the AAC's education team wants to recruit your help today.

Universal Belay Program

The AAC’s Universal Belay Program is designed to ensure you get a safe catch. The Universal Belay Certificate is currently available to anyone that verifies their belay skills to a licensed provider. To find a provider, demonstrate your skills, and receive your card or for more information about our belay card, visit americanalpineclub.org/universal-belay-program. If you’d like to become a licensed provider, email AAC Education Director Ron Funderburke at rfunderburke@americanalpineclub.org.

GRANTS Each year, the AAC gives over $170,000 toward climbing, conservation, and research grants to help you realize your climbing dreams and to protect the places we play. Learn more about Club grant offerings at americanalpineclub.org/grants.

CLIMBING & ADVENTURE GRANTS From funding the first ascent of Mt. Logan in 1925 and the exploration of the Karakoram in 1938, to the 2006 first ascent of Nanga Parbat’s Rupal Face, and countless expeditions and trips in between, we support climbers looking to push their limits.

Live Your Dream Grant POWERED BY: The Live Your Dream grant is designed to help the everyday adventurer take his or her abilities to the next level. It is about personal progression; about supporting one another. The purpose of this grant is to support unforgettable experiences— from bouldering to big walls, alpinism to ski mountaineering, peak bagging to bolt clipping and everything in between. Receive $200-$1,000 to jumpstart your next excursion. For more information, visit americanalpineclub.org/live-your-dream-grant. ཀྵཀྵ Application period: February 1–April 1

Cutting Edge Grant

Supports advanced, seasoned climbers undertaking highlevel climbing and mountaineering objectives in remote areas, including unclimbed peaks, difficult new routes, first free ascents, or similar pursuits. Awards typically fall in the $5,000 to $15,000 range. Award amounts vary based on project. For more information, visit americanalpineclub.org/cutting-edge-grant. ཀྵཀྵ Application period: October 1–November 30




Mountaineering Fellowship Grant

Started in 1966, Mountaineering Fellowship Grants have long encouraged American climbers age 25 years and younger to go into remote areas and seek out climbs more difficult than they might ordinarily be able to do. Unexplored mountain ranges, unclimbed peaks, and difficult new routes are looked upon with favor. Grants vary by project but typically range between $300 and $800 and help to cover travel, gear, or other expenses that you need to achieve your objective. For more information, visit americanalpineclub.org/mffgrant ཀྵཀྵ Application period: Bi-yearly on April 1 & November 1

Jones Backcountry Adventure Grants

Conservation & Research Grants help to ensure healthy climbing landscapes across the nation.

Cornerstone Conservation Grant POWERED BY: The Cornerstone Conservation Grant funds infrastructure projects spearheaded by local climbing organizations that protect and conserve climbing areas in the United States. Grants range from $1,000 to $8,000, depending on the size and scope of project. For more information, visit americanalpineclub.org/cornerstone-conservation-grant ཀྵཀྵ Application period: June 15–August 15

The Jones Backcountry Adventure Grant & Live Like Liz Award support multi-day splitboarding expeditions with exploratory and adventure components. The 2018 Jones Backcountry Adventure Grant offers $1,500 plus a Jones splitboard, skins, and backpack; the Live Like Liz Award offers the same but is limited to women only. For more information, visit americanalpineclub.org/jones-splitboarding-grants.

Anchor Replacement Fund

Launched in 2015, in partnership with the Access Fund, the Anchor Replacement Fund address the growing concerns of anchor failure and the access issues that could result from these incidents. Awarded to local climbing organizations and rebolting groups to keep our crags safe. For more information, visit https://americanalpineclub.org/anchor-replacement-fund

ཀྵཀྵ Application period: TBA

ཀྵཀྵ Application period: due September 15

Copp-Dash Inspire Award

The Copp-Dash Inspire Award is designed for small teams focused primarily on unclimbed objectives in distant ranges, requiring a high level of skill and commitment. For more information, visit americanalpineclub.org/cdia ཀྵཀྵ Application period: due September 1

Zack Martin Breaking Barriers Grant

The ZMBB grant is dual-purpose: it funds projects with a humanitarian primary objective as well as a secondary objective involving climbing. Humanitarian efforts should be sustainable and continue to provide benefits to local people after initial implementation. For more information, visit americanalpineclub.org/zmbb ཀྵཀྵ Application period: due April 15

McNeill-Nott Award POWERED BY: The McNeill-Nott Award funds amateurs exploring new routes or unclimbed peaks in small, lightweight teams. The Award focuses on projects that have strong exploratory and adventuresome mountaineering objectives. Two or three grants totaling $5,000 will be awarded annually. For more information, visit americanalpineclub.org/mcneillnott ཀྵཀྵ Application period: due January 1


Research Grants

Club Research Grants supports scientific endeavors on mountains and crags around the world that contributes vital knowledge of our climbing environments, enriches our understanding of global climber impacts and supports and improves the health and sustainability of mountain environments and habitats. AAC Research Grants are powered by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy and supported by Icebreaker and Kavu. For more information, visit americanalpineclub.org/research-grants ཀྵཀྵ Application period: due November 15

a Wild light and the finest groveling deep inside the mother stone on another FFA with Rob Pizem, Datura (5.12), Zion National Park, UT. AAC member Jeremiah Watt @miahwatt

a Melise Edwards warms up on the Sleeping Lady (V2) in Leavenworth, WA. AAC member Andrea Sassenrath @andreasassenrath

2017 GREAT RANGES FELLOWSHIP EIGER FELLOW $10,000+ Yvon & Malinda  Chouinard Kevin Duncan Timothy Forbes

Clark Gerhardt Jr. Peter Horan Craig McKibben  & Sarah Merner

Mark & Teresa  Richey Carey Roberts Naoe Sakashita

Steve & Paula Mae  Schwartz Cody J Smith Jerry Stritzke

Steven Swenson  & Ann Dalton Roger Walker

ALPAMAYO FELLOW $5,000 –$9,999 Warren Adelman Audrey Borisov Edmund & Betsy  Cabot Fdn.

Philip Duff Rocky Henderson Nick Horbaczewski Mark Kroese

Phil Lakin Jr. George Lowe III Garry Menzel

Peter & Kathleen  Metcalf Dr. Miriam Nelson  & Kinloch Earle

John Sirois William & Barbara  Straka

Lawrence True  & Linda Brown

ROBSON FELLOW $2,500 –$4,999 Mark Aiston Jon Anderson Melissa Arnot William Atkinson Sumit Bhardwaj Tanya Bradby & Martin Slovacek Alpenglow Foundation

Dan Cohen Matt & Charlotte  Culberson III Elizabeth & Joseph  Davidson Kit DesLauriers The Duckworth  Family

Jim Edwards  & Michelle Mass Dan Emmett Chas Fisher Charlotte Fox Bruce Franks Eiichi Fukushima Suzanne Hartman Seth Hawkins

Richard E.  Hoffman M.D. Thomas  Hornbein M.D. Thomas Janson David Landman Randy Luskey Michael Morgan  Family Fdn.

Paul Morrow Dan Nordstrom Michael Pantelich Brian Peters John Reppy David Riggs Vik Sahney Richard Salisbury John B. Soebbing

Theodore Streibert Joshua Swidler Niels Tietze Winston Warme Christopher  Warner

TEEWINOT FELLOW $1,000 – $2,499 Jonah Adelman Conrad Anker George Basch Douglas Beall Robert Bechaud Vaclav Benes Gordon A.  Benner M.D. John Bird Brent Bishop Nate Bondi Donald Brier Pete Brownell Deanne Buck Thomas Burch Mitch Campbell Robert Campbell Brian Cannard Kevin Capps Jimmy Chin Brianna Chrisman Jeffrey Cohen Kevin Cooney

John Costello Christopher Croft Paul Brunner  & Coleen Curry Lee Davis Larina Davis Scott Davis Tom Degenhardt Gretchen  Dennison Ed Diffendal John Donlou M.D. Richard Draves Ken Ehrhart Charles Eilers Stuart Ellison Terrence English Chuck & Lisa  Fleischman  Family Fund James Frank Jim Frush

Ken & Rebecca  Gart Marilyn Geninatti Michael Gibbons Bill & Sandra  Givens Dunham Gooding Wayne & Cynthia  Griffin Roger Hartl Diane Heasley Scot Hillman Mark Hingston Marley & Jennifer  Hodgson John Hutchinson Alex Intermill Richard Johnston Steven Kasoff Diane Kearns William  Kilpatrick M.D. Joel G. Kinney

Ron & Yael Kohavi Michael Lederer Richard LeDuc Paul Lego Chris Lynch Ryan Maitland Brent Manning Geoff Martin Edwards Matthews Patrick Mauro Dan McCoy Danny McCracken Chris McCullough Brad McQueen Roger Mellem Mark Miller Scott Milliman Halsted Morris Robert Morse Andrew Muller Mie Nakane Sean O’Brien Matt Ochs


Bob Palais Jed Paulson Mark Powers Andrew Puhl John Rehmer Louis Reichardt Wolf Riehle Michael Riley David Robertson Joel Robinson Arthur Rock John Rudolph David Ryon M.D. Jeb Sanford Charles Sassara III Janet Schlindwein Mark & Ulrika  Schumacher Stephen Scofield George Shaw Lauren Sigman George N. Smith Katherine Song

Rob & Jennifer  Stephenson Pamela  & Bob Street Sam Streibert Duncan Stuart Pavan Surapaneni Jack & Pat Tackle Steve  & Krista Taylor Mark Twight Dieter Von Hennig Jeff S. Wagener,  M.D. Brian Weihs Mark Wilford Douglas Wilson Tracie Winbigler Todd Winzenried Jason Wolfe Donald Woods Brian Young Rob Ziegler


Nature provides. After12 miles of skinning into the Matanuska Valley, in Southcentral Alaska with no bivy gear, Owen Laine is psyched to find an ice shelter big enough to fit a school bus. AAC member Zach Clanton @zclanton

PIOLET SOCIETY Anynomous Edward Ames Mia Axon Michael A. P. Barker Roger E. Barnes Robert Hicks Bates Richard Bence Valclav E. Beneš Richard G. Bickel James D. Booth Virginia & Stanley  Boucher Ross Bronson Robert Burns Mark Butler Robert J. Campbell Frank Castle

George & Penny  Cepull Chadwick Christine Nicholas B. Clinch Ursula Corning David H. Coward Robert W. Craig Steven K. Davis Jerry Dixon Robert H. Dodson James U. Donini Jim Edwards Ken Ehrhart Phil Erard Chester Errett Keith M. Fleishman James Frush Clark Gerhardt Jocelyn C. Glidden

Daniel Gravelyn William C. Guida Lydia L. Hall Trust Judy Hannah William E. Hauser James F. Henriot Richard K. Irvin William & Dana  Isherwood Nicole Belle Isle Richard M. Jali Henry W. Kendall Mark Kroese James P. McCarthy  & Ellen Lapham Don Liska George Lowe III Jerry Mack Larry Marquardt

Reese Martin Michele Mass Robert M.  McConnell Bob McGown Margot McKee Natalie Merrill Will D. Merritt Gregory K. Miller Halsted Morris Mike Mortimer Monty & Kaye Music Alison K. Osius Polly Prescott Chrstine L. Reid Wolf Reihle Drummond Rennie George R. Sainsbury Allen R. Sanderson


Allen R. Sandico Willits Sawyer Alan & Jan Scherer Mell Schoening Charles Stuart  Shimanski Greg Sievers Lauren Sigman Jim & Marianne  Skeen Lyman Spitzer, Jr. Bill Stall Barbara & William  Straka Theodore Streibert Robert J. Swanson Steven Swenson  & Ann Dalton Jack Tackle

Dr. Brett Taylor Martin  Torresquintero Reinhold Ulrich Edward E. Vaill William Wallace  Estate Bradford  Washburn Elizabeth White Timothy Wilt Paul R. Winther II Paul Wiseman Michael Yokell Brooke & Keegan  Young

ADVENTURE BUILT IN Get more precise altitude measurements with built-in pressure sensor. Now also with advanced navigation features, storm alarm, sunrise/sunset times and ski features.


Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR Baro

PARTNERS The American Alpine Club is committed to supporting and inspiring everyone who loves climbing. The work we do has the endorsement, in the form of financial and in-kind support from a multitude of industry leaders. The money we raise each year from our corporate partners is essential to the core operations of the AAC: national and international advocacy and conservation work, publications like the American Alpine Journal, and events like the International Climbers’ Meet, all of which keep the spirit of climbing thriving. Our Media Partners—magazines, websites, photographers, artists—provide essential in-kind support to improve and spread the AAC’s message. Thank you for supporting those who support us.

SUMMIT $100,000

HIGH CAMP $50,000

BASECAMP $25,000

PATRON $15,000

LEADER $10,000 white

PARTNER $5,000





Cilogear KNS Reps Second Ascent Climbstuff

Bluewater Ropes Feathered Friends Mountaineers Books Falcon Guides Asolo Backcountry.com 8k Peak Technologies


a Laurel Burr taking a moment on The Cobra (5.11) in the Fischer Towers, UT.

Sadly, The Cobra met it's demise in 2014 when a severe thunderstorm caused the hoodoo to collapse. AAC member Andrew Burr @andrew_burr


Andrew Burr Andy Earl Austin Siadak Bedrock Film Works Ben Ditto Bernd Zeugswetter Cascade Climbers Christian Pondella

Climbing Zine Cold House Media Craig Muderlak Dean Flemming Drew Smith Fixed Pin Publishing Garrett Grove Jason Gebauer

Jeffrey Rueppel Jeremy Collins Jeremiah Watt Jim Aikman Jimmy Chin Joe Stock Jon Glassberg Joshua Kasumovic

Ken Etzel Krystle Wright Mountain Adventure  Film Fest Mountainweather.com Nathan Welton Outback Media Purple Orange Media

Samantha Zim Sharp End Publishing SNEWS Top of the World Books Truc Allen Media Wolverine Publishing Zach Clanton  Photography


Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation Appalachian Mountain Club Climbing Wall Association College Outside

National Geographic National Park Foundation National Parks Conservation Association Outdoor Industry Association


United States Ski  Mountaineering Association USA Climbing

Photo: T. Senf

Photo: ©PatitucciPhoto

Photo: T. Senf

Photo: T. Senf



IN YOUR LOWAs? Since 1923, LOWAs have been essential gear for adventurers as they’ve explored this big, beautiful world. Our new Alpine Pro GTX® is a case in point. It unites a minimalist, low profile design with super-stable, shock-absorbing construction. The result: Superb, close-to-the-ground feel combined with LOWA’s legendary fit and comfort. It’s details like these that go into every LOWA, so that you can get the most out of your time in the mountains.

Leave your footprint #LOWABOOTS (your pix could be in our next ad....)



GORE-TEX®, GTX®, GORE®, and GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY® and design are registered trademarks of W.L. Gore & Associates Inc. VIBRAM®, the Octagon Logo, and the Yellow Octagon Logo and the color Canary Yellow are registered trademarks of Vibram S.p.A. ©2018 LOWA Boots, LLC.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS & CLUB STAFF HONORARY OFFICERS James P. McCarthy Honorary President Theodore (Sam) Streibert Honorary Treasurer EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Deanne Buck President Brad Brooks Vice President Kevin Duncan Secretary Phil Lakin Treasurer DIRECTORS Term Ending 2019: Philip Duff Kevin Duncan Chuck Fleischman Peter Metcalf Carey Roberts Vik Sahney Term Ending 2020: David Landman Term Ending 2021: Pete Ward Dr. Miriam Nelson Greg Thomsen John Bird Lauren Sigman Graham Zimmerman Jennifer Bruursema Mia Axon Chas Fisher Mark Butler

a Mayan Smith-Gobat ascends The Sorcerer (27) on the Totem Pole in Tasmania, Australia. AAC member Krystle Wright @krystlejwright

Phil Powers Chief Executive Officer Nat Matthews Chief Financial Officer  & Director of Operations Keegan Young Managing Director,  External Relations

Azissa Singh Mountain Qualification  Label Coordinator

Pat Bailey Hueco Rock Ranch  Asst. Manager

Vanessa Logsdon Development Coordinator

Paul Curran Gunks Campground  Manager

Heidi McDowell Senior Events Manager Shane Johnson Membership Manager

Craig Hoffman IT Director

Anna Kramer Policy Coordinator  & Grants Manager

Vickie Hormuth Director of Strategic  Partnerships

Michelle Hoffman Front End Developer

Whitney Bradberry Marketing Director

Carol Kotchek Accountant

Jesse Billingham Facilities Director

Sam Andree Membership Coordinator

Katie Sauter Library Director

Mark Elsinger Gunks Campground  Asst. Manager Will McFarland Rumney Campground  Manager Kristi Buckley New River Gorge  Campground Manager Gene Kistler New River Gorge  Steward/Caretaker

Maria Povec Policy & Advocacy Director

Amanda Hogan Membership Services  Representative

Ron Funderburke Education Director

Emma Longcope Content Coordinator

Jeff Deikis Creative Director

Allison Albright Digital Services Librarian

CJ O’Reilly Major Gifts Officer

Eric Rueth Library Assistant

Dougald MacDonald Publications Executive Editor

Ashley Saupe Sharp End Podcast

Eddie Espinosa National Volunteer  Program Manager

Winne Lam San Francisco Membership  Coordinator

Blake Bowling Senior Software Engineer

Truc Allen Seattle Membership  Coordinator

Eliza Lockhart Guidebook to Membership

Bob Baribeau Grand Teton Climbers’ Ranch  Manager


Dillon Blanksma Full Stack Engineer Sterling Boin Senior Financial  Operations Analyst

Clark Bledsoe Hueco Rock Ranch Manager  & GTCR Asst. Manager


INTERNS: Alex Alchin Events & Fundraising Savannah Buik Finance Teresa Donahue Archives Mason Osgood Policy Jon Oulton Policy Caroline Tweedy Events

Cat Stevens Wylie Hatcher Gradie Sage

PARTING SHOT Frosted Flutes, Haines, AK Story & Photo by Zach Clanton This highly sought after line, ridden here by Cody Booth, is just one of many gems in the Tomahawk region of Haines, Alaska. Most of these descents have been ridden for decades via helicopter, but only recently has the area seen its first human-powered expeditions. Cody and I, along with Neil and Ian Provo, Tony Pavlantos, Zak Mills, and Aspen Rain Weaver spent a collective 20 days camped on the Riggs Glacier skinning, hiking, and boarding these incredible spines. It’s difficult enough to just endure this zone given its boot-freezing cold, raging storms, and complex navigation, but to also hammer out the perfect turn in the ideal spot at the ideal moment—and to capture it in magic light, from an aesthetic perch—is a feat of teamwork like nothing else I have found in the mountains. Needless to say, we were pretty excited about how this one turned out! Zach Clanton is an AAC member, contributing photographer, and the recipient of numerous Club grants. (Learn how to get your next trip funded on page 61.) See more of Zach's work at zachclantonphoto.smugmug.com or find him on Instagram @zclanton


Š Jon Glassberg of Louder Than Eleven (www.lt11.com)

The UIAA/CE standard for climbing helmets only addresses top-impact protection from falling objects. TOP and SIDE protection helps guard against impacts from numerous angles. Learn more at www.petzl.com.

Yet, many times the impact forces to the head vary depending upon how you fall or the position of your head when hit from falling objects above. Here, Jorg Verhoeven catches his leg behind the rope during his whip on China Doll (5.14a R) in Dream Canyon, Boulder, Colorado.


JASON THOMPSON © 2018 Patagonia, Inc.

Anne Gilbert Chase weaves past a 200-meter wall to unlock the upper mountain on the third day of a first ascent of the southwest face of Nilkantha. She and her partners Jason Thompson and Chantel Astorga named the route Obscured Perception. “Obscured because the mountain is often shrouded in clouds and hard to see. Perception because when you are on an expedition, nothing else matters.”