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.

Search and Rescue Award

Rocky Talkie will be giving a total of $36,000 to three search and rescue (SAR) teams who responded to 2022 incidents in exceptional and inspirational ways. Applicants are asked to submit a brief description of a rescue operation which illustrates the team’s skill level, passion, and dedication. View last year’s winners here.

The goal of this award is to drive greater awareness of the incredible contributions that volunteer SAR members make to our mountain community. We believe that this awareness is the first critical step towards increasing the support of SAR teams and ultimately the safety of everyone who recreates in the mountains.

Awards

Three winning teams will be selected for the 2023 award. Each team will receive $12,000 in funding and numerous opportunities to promote both their unique story and the greater Search and Rescue community. The award will be shared widely online and published in the AAC’s 2023 edition of Accidents in North American Climbing.

Timeline

Applications will be accepted up until 11:59 PM on January 31st, 2023. The three winners will then be selected by a small group from the American Alpine Club, SAR professionals, and the Rocky Talkie team. Winners will be contacted in February 2023. Interviews with winners will be conducted in March or April, and the stories will be publicized to the community in July 2023. 

The community will then be able to vote on the rescue they find most inspiring. Voters will be entered to win prizes for their participation. The team that wins the “People’s Choice Award” will receive an extra prize for their members!

Time commitment from winning SAR teams

We need your help in bringing your rescue story to life! Last year, a professional writer interviewed each winning team and wrote compelling narratives. This year, renowned filmmaker and climber Jon Glassberg (founder of the Louder Than 11 studio and cinematographer for the Free Solo documentary) will be creating one video per team to highlight the rescue story and volunteers. 

If selected as a 2023 winner, we will ask to conduct video interviews with members of your rescue team (estimated 1-day of filming). We also ask that there is a primary point of contact for your team to help with follow-up questions and coordinate schedules.

Confidentiality of rescued individual(s)

We understand that in some cases, the rescued individual would prefer to remain anonymous. The emphasis of these stories will be on members of the rescue team and the participation of the rescued individual is optional.

Eligibility

Any Search and Rescue team that is registered in the United States or Canada as a non-profit. The submitted rescue must have occurred in the 2022 calendar year and volunteer SAR members must have participated.

The American Alpine Club has inspired and supported cutting-edge climbing achievements for over 100 years.  From funding the first ascent of Mt. Logan in 1925, the exploration of the Karakoram in 1938, the 2019 first ascent of Link Sar in the Central Pakistani Karakoram, and the countless expeditions in between, the AAC has stood to encourage climbers to push their physical and mental limits, support their pursuits, and celebrate their accomplishments.

The Cutting Edge Grant continues this tradition, supporting "state-of-the-art, cutting-edge climbing through financial support of small, lightweight climbing teams attempting bold first ascents or difficult repeats of the most challenging routes in the world's great mountain ranges."

AWARDS
Cutting Edge Grant awards are intended to more significantly contribute towards total expedition costs. Awards will typically fall in the $5,000 to $10,000 range, however award amounts will vary based on project and budget.

CRITERIA
Proposals will be evaluated upon:

  • Goal. The Cutting Edge Grant seeks to fund individuals planning expeditions to remote areas featuring unexplored mountain ranges, unclimbed peaks, difficult new routes, first free ascents, or similar world-class pursuits. Objectives featuring a low-impact style and leave-no-trace mentality will be looked upon with favor.
  • Experience. Applicants should possess a strong resume of past climbing achievements and/or experiences that illustrate their ability to have a reasonable potential for success. They must demonstrate that they are an advanced and capable climber. Experience must be in keeping with the difficulty of the stated objective.
  • Eligibility. Individuals who are U.S. citizens and members of the American Alpine Club are eligible to apply. The Cutting Edge Grant is open to all climbing athletes, including those receiving financial support or in-kind support from corporate sponsors, however the level of sponsorship must be disclosed. Other team members need not be U.S. citizens.

The AAC encourages all capable athletes seeking worthy objectives to apply. If you have a question or a doubt regarding your project goal, experience level, or eligibility, please reach out to the AAC Climbing Grants Manager.

With the untimely death of Sue Nott and her partner Karen McNeill on Mt. Foraker in 2006, The AAC partnered with Mountain Hardwear to establish the McNeill-Nott Award in their memory.

The McNeill-Nott Award seeks to preserve the spirit of these two talented and courageous climbers by giving grants to amateur climbers exploring new routes or unclimbed peaks with small and lightweight teams. The Award focuses on projects that have strong exploratory and adventuresome mountaineering objectives. These elements are more important than the technical rating of the climbing objective.

Two or three grants totaling $5,000 will be awarded annually to amateur teams that best meet the criteria for pursuing an exploratory objective. Proposals are evaluated on the following criteria: 

JONES ADVENTURE GRANTS
The American Alpine Club and Jones Snowboards are proud to offer two splitboarding-specific grants that encourage human-powered exploration of the winter wilderness by motivated amateur backcountry snowboarders.

JONES BACKCOUNTRY ADVENTURE GRANT: supports a multi-day splitboarding expedition with a strong exploratory and adventure component. The project objective may focus on a single descent/summit or a tour/traverse of a region. The Jones Backcountry Adventure Grant offers $1500 plus a Jones splitboard, skins and backpack to the grant recipient.

JONES LIVE LIKE LIZ AWARD: the same criteria as the Jones Backcountry Adventure Grant, but the grant is open only to female applicants. In September 2014, Jones ambassador and aspiring mountain guide Liz Daley was killed in an avalanche accident in Argentina. This award is dedicated to Liz and the radiant passion for splitboard exploration that she was known for. The Jones Live Like Liz Award will also offer $1500 plus a Jones splitboard, skins and backpack to the grant recipient.

This grant offers financial support for individuals 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. 

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 grieffund@americanalpineclub.org 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.

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.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

  • Only U.S. citizens 25 years of age or younger may apply (applicant should be no older than 25 at the time of the application deadline.
  • Grants are awarded based on the proposed project’s excellence and evidence of appropriate mountaineering experience.
  • Membership in The American Alpine Club is required
  • Members of a single expedition may apply individually (organized groups/expeditions are ineligible).
  • Grants are not available for the purpose of climbing instruction.


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.

CRITERIA / GUIDELINES

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.

As we look ahead to the future of climbing and the availability of outdoor recreation opportunities for all, the American Alpine Club’s (AAC) Cornerstone Conservation Grant represents our commitment to supporting local climbing communities in their conservation and restoration initiatives.

More individuals, families, and groups are spending time in climbing areas and landscapes, causing added environmental stress and degradation to these places. We look to local climbing communities to identify areas in need of conservation, restoration, and educational resources for visitors. Our goals for Cornerstone remain the same: create healthy climbing landscapes, promote respect for the places we climb, and empower local climbing communities. We look forward to supporting your project!

The AAC Cornerstone Conservation Grant, powered by REI, formally launched in 2011 with the goal of funding projects to improve, conserve, and protect local climbing resources across the country. Since that first year, we have awarded over $250,000 to local climbing organizations (LCOs), land managers and agencies, nonprofits, and individuals for projects as varied as building or improving trail networks to climbing areas; establishing new toilet facilities and signage at trailheads; and deploying a variety of community groups for clean-up and graffiti removal at local crags.

Projects must:

  • Have measurable, high impact yet achievable goals
  • Incorporate best practices for sustainability
  • Improve land conservation and/or climber practices
  • Demonstrate reduced impact from climber practices
  • Demonstrate a plan for long term success
  • Engage members of the local climbing community, such as local AAC chapters and local REI stores.
  • Have local land manager endorsement
  • Have local AAC Section endorsement
  • Have a realistic budget
  • Utilize matching agency, local funds or Access Fund grant money

We do not fund projects whose primary goal is land acquisition or fixed anchor replacement. We believe these projects are valuable for the climbing community and may be able to support them in other ways including through the joint Access Fund / AAC Anchor Replacement Fund. If you have questions about these types of projects and how the AAC can support you, please feel free to contact the AAC Grants Manager.

Please note that we coordinate closely with the Access Fund in reviewing grant proposals and awarding funding.

The American Alpine Club