American Alpine Club Wins 2013 Golden Piton Award
AAC’s Work as “Community Developer” Acclaimed in Climbing Magazine
January 22, 2013, Golden, CO—The American Alpine Club (AAC) is a proud recipient of a 2013 Golden Piton Award for its service to the climbing community. Named the year’s “Community Developer” in the February 2013 issue of Climbing magazine, the award recognizes several recent triumphs that have benefitted Club members and the community at large.
The award opens: “On a five-year mission to reinvent itself as the leading national organization for all types of climbers, the 110-year-old AAC announced sweeping new benefits for the 21st century.” It then points to successes already realized as part of that Five-year Plan, including:
- Doubling life-saving rescue benefits for members ($10,000)
- Building the New River Gorge Campground in West Virginia
- Renovating and reopening the Hueco Rock Ranch in Texas
- Launching Live Your Dream Grants that fund dreams for climbers of all abilities
- Launching Cornerstone Conservation Grants that improve crag infrastructure
“Our staff was unanimous in our vote to include the American Alpine Club as a Golden Piton winner,” said Climbing Editor-in-Chief Shannon Davis. “This is an organization that is successfully reinventing itself as a exciting resource for all climbers, not just stodgy alpinists, and subsequently becoming a major community builder in the climbing world.”
The American Alpine Club is two years into its Five-year Plan. The Club is on track to continue growing its programs to better serve climbers. In addition to maintaining its new benefits, grants, and lodging facilities, in 2013 the Club will begin building a much-needed campground in the Shawangunks (Gunks) of New York and digitize and give access to never-before-seen assets from its world-renowned climbing library and archives.
A centerpiece of the “New AAC” is the creation and support of more vibrant climbing communities around the country. Climbing commended the AAC’s work in this arena, noting that—in 18 months—active volunteers had jumped from 112 to 296 and AAC-related events more than tripled, from 80 to 280 per year. AAC Membership grew by 24% in 2012, the largest membership spike in the organization’s history, thanks in large part to an extraordinary volunteer board of directors. The AAC now serves more than 11,000 members.
“Two years ago we chose a different path for the American Alpine Club,” said Executive Director Phil Powers. “We identified constructive changes that would affect more climbers in more ways. This Golden Piton Award is momentous for us because it signals that the ‘New AAC’ is having a profound impact on the climbing world—not just because we're changing, but because we're more relevant in our community.”
In 2005, the AAC won its first Golden Piton Award for organizing a disaster relief effort for the Kashmir earthquake that killed more than 75,000 people in Pakistan, India, and beyond.
Climbing magazine excerpt below:
About The American Alpine Club
The American Alpine Club is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides knowledge and inspiration, conservation and advocacy, and logistical support for the climbing community. The AAC advocates for American climbers domestically and around the world; provides grants and volunteer opportunities to protect and conserve the places we climb; hosts local and national climbing festivals and events; publishes two of the world’s most sought-after climbing annuals, The American Alpine Journal and Accidents in North American Mountaineering; cares for the world’s leading climbing library and country’s leading mountaineering museum; manages the Hueco Rock Ranch, New River Gorge Climbers’ Campground, and Grand Teton Climbers’ Ranch as part of a larger lodging network for climbers; and annually gives $80,000+ toward climbing, conservation, and research grants to adventurers who travel the world. Learn about additional programs and become a member at americanalpineclub.org.