The AAC has a storied legacy of funding climbing, conservation, and research projects in support of our mission. Through the years, AAC grants have been responsible for encouraging thousands of climbers to dream big and push their limits; for pioneering hundreds of cutting-edge new routes of remote and major peaks around the world; for improving infrastructure at climbing areas across the country; and funding scientific research expeditions that have contributed valuable information to our understanding of the worlds mountain ecosystems.

Today, with more than $150,000 in annual grant awards, the Club continues to support these endeavors and is proud to stand behind the individuals and their projects which seek the betterment of the climbing community and climbing landscapes.

This financial needs-based grant offers financial support for individuals pursuing therapeutic services based on being directly impacted by grief, loss, and/or trauma related to climbing, ski mountaineering or alpinism. The grant award is up to $600 and is intended to be used toward individual therapy or a professional program that engages a grief or trauma framework.  

Grant applications will be reviewed for the following criteria:

  • Applicant is experiencing distress due to grief or trauma related to climbing, ski mountaineering, or alpinism;
  • Application contains an expressed plan to work with a specific professional or organization; 
  • Applicant states financial need
  • Applicant has not previously received a Climbing Grief Fund grant. 
  • Applicants who have not been able to access prior therapy or treatment shall be prioritized

You may apply for this grant at any time.  Please fill out our application and use our mental health directory to find a therapist or program of your choosing. You may select a therapist or program that is not listed in our directory. 

Please note that applications will only be considered when applicants have identified and contacted their chosen therapist or program organizer. Providers are often willing to work with individuals who have limited funds. We recommend discussing rates and availability with your provider ahead of time.

Please reach out to us at if there are questions concerning the application process (such as selecting a therapist or program).

All Grant applications will remain confidential. We will notify you of approval within 2 weeks of submission. 

Together we are building a community that gets support and gives support.

The Zack Martin Breaking Barriers (ZMBB) Grant was created in memory of Zack Martin, an avid climber and humanitarian who died just before his 25th birthday. Concerned about the failure to ‘pay it forward’ and help those in the places he climbed, Zack committed himself to perform humanitarian services in the local communities in which he explored. His efforts were supported through multiple grants including ones from the American Alpine Club (AAC) and the Anatoli Boukreev Grant. Zach championed “breaking barriers” in the alpine environment, and “breaking barriers” in the heart of man.

This grant seeks to fund expeditions that focus, primarily, on humanitarian efforts and, secondly, on an objective involving alpinism, mountaineering, rock/ice climbing and bouldering. Exploration in other areas such as ski mountaineering, river exploration etc. that lead to a greater understanding and improvement of the alpine environment could be considered for the grant.  Successful candidates will demonstrate how their expedition fully encompasses both tenets of this grant.


Humanitarian objective

Must have immediate impact, be sustainable, feasible and assure continuity to provide benefits to local people after initial implementation. Ideally, objectives will teach locals “how to”, enable ‘infrastructure’ and provide some level of continued support and funding.

Alpine objective

Must focus on alpine related adventure and/or discovery in the natural environment. A non-alpine adventure or exploration activity could be considered if the non-alpine objective leads to enhancement of the alpine/climbing/mountaineering environment.

  • For individuals of all ages and all experience levels.
  • Awarded to individuals and/or small teams (one application).
  • Objective can be for domestic and/or international expeditions.
  • Applicant(s) must be U.S. citizens or green card holders to apply.
  • Applicant(s) do not have to be current AAC members, but will be asked to become a member if selected.
  • Applicant(s) are strongly encouraged to obtain additional funding and sponsors.
The American Alpine Club