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The AAC Dinner: A Young Climber’s Perspective

Posted on: February 22nd, 2010 by admin

L to R: Renan Ozturk, Cedar Wright, Conrad Anker, Jennifer Lowe-Anker, Pete Athans, Matt Segal, Sam Elias, and Emily Harrington. Photo by Dan Gambino

When I received my invite to the AAC Annual Dinner, my initial thought was, “Do I belong?” I was under the impression that I had no place attending a fancy dinner with some old crusty climbers. Then I started thinking about what it would mean to be in a room with some of the most influential climbers in history. Royal Robbins, Lynn Hill, Conrad Anker, the list goes on. These were the people who established and defined the sport, the ones who paved the way for my generation to push our own personal limits and take the sport even further. I decided that this event would be a wonderful opportunity for me to meet some of these legends and open my eyes to the historical aspects of the sport I have made my life out of.

The experience was eye-opening, to say the least. I was overwhelmed and humbled by the presence of such great individuals. Jim Collins, the keynote speaker of the night, gave an inspiring and captivating speech about the values and ideals that we cherish as climbers. He emphasized the importance of partnership and humility, two key ingredients to being successful, not only in climbing or business, but also in life. He spoke about the AAC in terms of an organization that brings us all together as climbers and supports our common goals to succeed, while promoting the importance of community. I was inspired by what he had to say, and I began to think about the need for these ideas to be translated to the younger generation.

The AAC is doing great things for our sport in terms of conservation, education, and advocacy. It is important that this organization reach out to the younger generation of climbers in order to further instill these ideals. I am pretty sure that I was the youngest one at the dinner. It was a wonderful experience, but I am hoping to see more young climbers at next year’s AAC dinner. This event can become cross-generational and bring together climbers from all age groups to share and promote the principles that founded our sport. We, the younger generation, need to look to those who came before us, learn from their mistakes and triumphs, and continue to progress the sport with the same passion from which it began.

Emily Harrington, 23, is a 5.14 climber and multitime national champion in sport climbing who lives in Boulder, Colorado.