AAC Announces Four Big Awards
The American Alpine Club (AAC) will present four major awards to celebrated climbers and conservationists at its annual dinner on February 20. The AAC’s Benefit and Awards Dinner, held this year at the Inverness Hotel in Denver, also will feature special guest speaker Jim Collins, the best-selling business author and rock climber.
This year’s winner of the AAC’s Robert and Miriam Underhill Award for lifetime achievement is Royal Robbins, perhaps the greatest figure in American big-wall climbing history. Robbins, from Modesto, CA, led the first ascent of the northwest face of Half Dome in Yosemite Valley in 1957, the Salathé and North America walls on El Capitan, and some of the first wilderness big walls ever climbed, in Wyoming, Canada, and Alaska.
The well-known climber Conrad Anker, from Bozeman, MT, will be lauded for another, lesser-known aspect of his career: his tireless work on environmental issues. Anker will receive the David Brower Conservation Award in recognition of his work with nonprofits such as the Access Fund, the Conservation Alliance, and the AAC; his influence on sponsors like the North Face in addressing sustainability and preservation issues; his introduction of environmental ethics to Sherpa climbers through the Khumbu Climbing School; and his use of his celebrity to bring greater attention to climate change and other environmental concerns.
Climber, guide, writer, and filmmaker Doug Robinson, from Aptos, CA, will receive the AAC’s Literary Award. Robinson, a pioneer of the “clean climbing” movement, wrote an essay in a 1972 Chouinard Equipment catalog that inspired countless climbers to abandon the use of destructive pitons. His pioneering instructional video, Moving Over Stone, was one of the best-selling climbing films of all time. Robinson’s A Night on the Ground, A Day in the Open collects some of his most influential and beautiful articles and essays about the Sierra Nevada and other ranges.
Mark Richey, a leading American climber for the past two decades, will receive the Angelo Heilprin Citation for service to the American Alpine Club. Richey, who lives in Essex, MA, was president of the AAC from 2003 to 2006—crucial years of growth and change for the club. He also chaired the fund-raising campaign for construction of the Bradford Washburn American Mountaineering Museum, which opened in Golden, CO, in early 2008. Richey has chaired the club’s nominating committee, helping to build a strong board of directors, and he represents North America at the UIAA, the international association of alpine clubs. And he does all this while running a successful custom-woodworking business and traveling around the world on climbing expeditions.
All of the award winners are expected to be present at the AAC’s Annual Benefit and Awards Dinner on February 20. The keynote speaker at the dinner will be best-selling author Jim Collins, who lives in Boulder, CO. Collins was one of the top rock climbers in the world during the 1970s, and he still climbs at a 5.13 level. His business books Built to Last, Good to Great, and How the Mighty Fall have sold millions of copies, and he has worked as a speaker and consultant for dozens of corporations.
The AAC’s annual dinner is one of the great traditions of the 107-year-old organization. To learn more about the event or buy tickets, click here.
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