In the 2023 grant cycle, the AAC seeks research that will broaden knowledge in the following policy priority areas: combating climate change and protecting public lands. Successful candidates will demonstrate how their research directly addresses pertinent issues facing climbing landscapes and the climbing community.
The American Alpine Club (AAC) Research Grants have supported scientific endeavors in mountains and crags around the world. AAC funds projects that enrich the understanding of the ecosystems and landscapes that are a part of the climbing experience, contribute vital knowledge to the management of climbing environments, and improve the health and sustainability of the climbing community.
Research that fits within one of the following focal areas will receive priority by the selection committee:
Focal Area 1: Climate Change
Climate change poses many threats to climbing landscapes and communities across the globe. Increased wildfire prevalence, warmer annual temperatures, shorter winter seasons, and drought are all symptoms of a warming climate and all pose a threat to climbing. The AAC is committed to addressing the threat of climate change and seeks research that quantifies the impacts of a changing climate on climbing landscapes and communities, and further outlines policy guidance for climate mitigation and/or adaptation. Research that explores how distinct climbing areas or communities, such as mountain towns or guide agencies (for example) will be impacted by a changing climate will receive additional priority.
Focal Area 2: Public Land Management
Containing 60% of the nations’ climbing areas, public lands are key to the American climbing experience. However, threats to public lands such as unchecked resource extraction, infrastructure development, and the erosion of fundamental environmental laws and policies are on the rise. Additionally, with climbing gyms across the country limiting access due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more climbers than ever are flocking to the outdoors. Increased participation rates in outdoor climbing, while generally a good thing, is leading to resource management challenges across the country. With the compounding stress placed on public lands the AAC seeks research which provides guidance on correcting one of the major issues facing public lands today. Research should draw from one or multiple case studies and provide policy or management level guidance on how to address the issue of concern.
In addition to these focal points, applications are considered in terms of their scientific or technical quality and merit: