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2015 Research Grant Recipents

Congratulations to the 2015 Research Grant Recipients. This grant funds requests to assist scientific research projects within the scope of the AAC’s charter. To learn more about the Research Grant visit our website.

  1. Grant Lipman, Altitude Sickness Comparison of Efficacy of a Novel Steroid Inhalant and Oral Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (ASCENSION), California

An associate clinical professor in emergency medicine and co-Director of Stanford’s Wilderness Medicine Fellowship is conducting a random double-blind trial comparing if meloxicam and inhaled budesonide will be superior to a placebo in decreasing the occurrence of AMS at high altitude. Eligible participants will be will enrolled by the study administrators at Owens Valley Station, White Mountain Research Station in Bishop, CA. Funding will pay for lodging during the 2016 study.  

  1. Kristin Schild, Constraining a Prominent Driver in Glacier Terminus Stability, Svalbard (Greenland)

A PhD student in Earth Sciences at Dartmouth, she seeks to quantify the strength and seasonality of glacier-driven fjord circulation at a tidewater glacier. Fjord circulation is a more recently-observed instigator of glacial calving. If models can be improved to better predict the effects of climate change and warming on ice discharge then we can have a clearer sense of the future state of the glaciers and their rate of change, including in places where climbers climb. In addition to academic publication, this research will be shared in an interactive blog for middle school students and in the middle school classrooms where the investigator teaches once a week.

  1. Chris Zajchowski, Accident reduction and mitigation: An analysis of visitor decision-making at Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming:

This research by a PhD student in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism at University of Utah is designed to help park managers understand how and why climbers and scenic floaters in Grand Teton National Park make particular decisions that increase or decrease their safety. The FACETS system of six common heuristic traps that befall or assist backcountry users – familiarity, consistency, acceptance, the expert halo, social facilitation, and scarcity–will be evaluated in this research. Results will be disseminated to park management through presentations and seminars as well as in articles to academic journals, plus a possible webinar or other dissemination to permit applicants in the National Park. Funds will be used toward overall research costs and/or lodging at Climbers Ranch for the two sampling periods.* AAC member. 

  1. Trevor Bloom: Investigating the impact of climate change and wildfire on the persistence of high elevation wildflower Saxifraga austromontana in the Rocky Mountains

This is a field study of the response of Saxifraga austromontana, a wildflower endemic to the Rocky Mountain chain, to direct effects of climate change and the indirect effect of increased wildfire frequency and intensity. Designed by a Masters student in Biology at Western Washington University (no ties to Ray Huey), the objective of this study is to investigate the factors, climate and wildfire, that may lead to rapid extirpation of certain alpine plants. Based on the findings of the field experiment and his Species Distribution Models (SDMs) he will build a “fire” model to test how the future species distribution of S. austromontana will be further impacted by increased fire frequency and intensity. Funds requested cover equipment and camping fees for the field study. AAC member. 

  1. Tim Graham: Potential Impacts from Climate Change and Introduced Mountain Goats on Alpine Arthropod Communities of the La Sal Mountains, Utah: Establishing Baseline Conditions, Utah

The Senior Research Ecologist at the Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research has sounded an alarm about the introduction of non-native mountain goats into the La Sal Mountains by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, and the consequences this may have for arthropods—bees and other insect communities. He is in the middle of a three-year study to establish baseline conditions for the La Sal alpine arthropod communities, providing the foundation on which to evaluate mountain goat effects. He will compare arthropod community structure within and between alpine plant community types, and will develop a reference collection for La Sal Mountain alpine arthropods. He has recruited and trained a cadre of volunteers to assist with the field and lab components of the project, including teachers and students of Grand County High School Science Department, and will provide annual updates on progress of this project at the Moab Information Center. 

  1. Patrick Wright: “Processes of ice formation in Fossil Mountain Ice Cave, Wyoming: preliminary study to assess site potential for ice core paleoclimate records,” Wyoming

A first-year PhD student at the University of Montana, he is beginning a year-round monitoring program to establish the meteorological and hydrologic processes resulting in ice accumulation in the cave, and measurement of the ice accumulation and deformation rates. There is strong potential for paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental reconstructions from the ice stratigraphy in this cave, which represents a midlatitude, high elevation, regionally unique climate record. There is only one known ice-core dating analysis for this region. If there is strong evidence for meaningful climate records in the ice stratigraphy, this pilot study is intended to lead towards an ice core analysis at this site.


  1. Robin Thomas: Relative Dating of Glacial Moraines in the Cordillera Blanca, Peru

An undergraduate in geology and math at Western Washington University (no ties to Ray Huey), she is taking part in the American Climber Science Program this summer in Peru, where she will investigate the past glacial extent of several of the glaciers in the Cordillera Blanca. She will ascertain this by examining slope angle of moraines, weathering rings, lichen growth, and interviews with locals who can indicate where the glaciers extended within human memory. If past extent can be established using satellite imagery and human memory, a growth curve will be created to apply in areas where local memory cannot estimate the age of the moraines. AAC member.





2014-2015 Mountaineering Fellowship Grant Recipients (Second Round)

Congratulations to the 2014-2015 Mountaineering Fellowship Grant Second Round, 2014-2015. This grant encourages 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.

Trevor Bloom (24), $200 for a complete traverse of Rocky Mountains.

Shayna Brown (24) and Mary Grace Helton (23), $800 each for a new route on Upuigma Tepui in Venezuela.

Dylan Cousins (25), $300 for new free routes on Mt. Hooker, Wyoming.

Tess Ferguson (20) and Alan Goldbetter (25), $500 each for a new route on Pirita Central in Patagonia.

Logan Jamison (25), $500 for a new route on The Citadel, Neacola Range, AK. Jordi Johnson (23), $200 for climbing in Cordillera Blanca.

Jacob Wells (24), $500 for an ascent of Cassin Ridge, Denali, AK.

Average age of awardees: 24

Number of awards/applications: 9/13

Committee: Yvon Chouinard, Eiichi Fukushima (Chair), James Funsten, Pete Metcalf, Travis Spitzer, Geoff Tabin.

Learn more about the Mountaineering Fellowship Grant.

Gunks Campground is Now Open


The Samuel F. Pryor III Shawangunk Gateway (Gunks) Campground is now open. Learn more and reserve your stay.


Nepal Earthquake Update 5/13/2015


After the earthquake on April 25 our partner Global Rescue was engaged in missions to contact, locate, and rescue those in need. Our latest update from Global Rescue tells us nine AAC members were affected. Global Rescue was involved in seven missions and investigations of members that were missing and all nine members were located. If you know of an AAC member in Nepal who is unaccounted for, please notify Global Rescue: 800-381-9754.

Here are the latest updates from Ang Tshering Sherpa, Chairman of Climate Alliance of Himalayan Communities:

The first earthquake triggered a major avalanche killing 18 climbers and injuring 71 at Everest’s basecamp. All 71 injured were heli-rescued from Base Camp to Kathmandu on April 26. 180 climbers were evacuated from Camp 1 and Camp 2 via helicopter, due to the collapse of the Khumbu Icefall route, on April 27. All 2015 Mt. Everest expeditions are cancelled due to unsafe conditions and aftershocks.

After the first earthquake on April 25, Nepal experienced another serious earthquake with the epicenter in the direction of the Everest region on May 12. The latest reports from this earthquake include:

  • Damages to property has been vast in the Solukhumbu region
  • Too early to report on human and livestock casualties
  • Efforts to contact others in Khumbu have failed due to difficulties in communication lines
  • Reports are streaming in of the effects in other parts on Nepal
  • Damages and human casualties in Kathmandu are being reported
  • Emergency meetings are being held in Singha Durbar, Kathmandu
  • Prime Minister has addressed the nation

AAC member Donald Liska Memorial Information

AAC member Don Liska’s Memorial Information from his wife Alice Liska.

May 9th – 1-6pm at the Liska Home

3 Estrada Calabasa West
 Santa Fe, NM 87506
*This will be an open house

We’re Hiring an Education Manager

The American Alpine Club seeks an Education Manager to lead the Club into a deeper focus on climbing education in America. This is an opportunity to work closely with regional clubs, climbing gyms, and other organizations to achieve basic best practices for broad categories of climbing education, volunteer leadership, and mentorship.

Learn more about this position.

Nepal Earthquake


The American Alpine Club is grieving for the people affected by the recent earthquakes in Nepal. This is a huge disaster that effects all of Nepal.

We are aware of numerous AAC members in affected areas, and our partner Global Rescue is engaged in missions to contact, locate, and rescue those in need. If you know of an AAC member in Nepal who is unaccounted for, please notify Global Rescue: 800-381-9754.

This tragedy has impacted our tribe of climbers on the high peaks. And it has devastated communities, families, and towns across Nepal. A number of AAC partner organizations are collecting relief funds to help local mountain communities and to support on-the-ground aid efforts. These include the American Himalayan Foundation, the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation, dZi Foundation, and the Juniper Fund.

Members Jake Norton (MountainWorld blog) and Alan Arnette (alanarnette.com) are posting updates as information becomes available. Further AAC communications about the earthquake will be available via our Facebook Page.

With heartache,

The American Alpine Club team

Hiring: Member Services Representative

We’re hiring a Member Services Representative. The Member Services Representative will be the “voice” of the AAC. He/She will be expected to deliver outstanding customer service to our most valuable asset – our Members. Visit our jobs page to learn more.

2015 Guidebook to Membership Shipping Soon


The 2015 Guidebook to Membership will be hitting mailboxes soon! In the meantime, you can catch the online version here.

A big thanks to AAC member Forest Woodward for the awesome cover shot of Graham Zimmerman traversing Claw Peak, via the West Ridge, as the sun sets behind Mt. Waddington.

Gunks Reservations Are Open


Reservations are now open for the American Alpine Club – Gunks Campground!


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