Climbing is expensive. Quality gear, lodging, gas, airfare, food… it all adds up fast. Even though the sport can boast countless benefits that make each trip worth every cent, the price tags involved can be enough to keep too many potential climbers from taking steps toward the life-changing experiences that climbing so easily offers.

But thanks to the American Alpine Club, we have a chance to make a change. The AAC has recently launched its exclusive “Live Your Dreams” grant, specially developed for these budding adventurers in need of a helping hand. With the support of The North Face, the AAC wants to provide some much-needed support and financial aid to climbers who want to reach their goals.Live Your Dreams

Climbers of all ages, backgrounds, levels, and disciplines are eligible to apply for the Live Your Dreams grant. Whether you are a gym rat looking to take your first trip outside, or an experienced alpinist hoping to tackle your next big peak, the AAC is looking at you. Here are some examples of past applications:

  • Saylor Flett, Bill Pilling, and Brett Marty had the objective of the Carpe Ridge on Mount Fairweather, one of the world’s highestcoastal mountains on the border of Alaska and British Columbia. Having rarely climbed outside of the Sierra Nevada, Brett and Saylor would to take their technical skills into the much larger Alaskan range for the first time under the apprenticeship, mentorship, and partnership of William “Bill” Pilling, a 20+ year veteran of Alaskan mountaineering.
  • Geri Ulrey, a gym climber with very limited experience climbing outdoors, dreamed of gaining outdoor climbing experience. She will travel to Squamish to climb in a classic setting on unknown-to-her terrain and, as an independent filmmaker and educator, Geri documented her journey to offer insight into what climbing has meant to her as she has recovered after a near-death experience in June 2010.
  • Melissa Buehler wished to be the first woman to climb the Evolution Traverse in a day (tent-to-tent), solo. Melissa loves free-climbing, peak bagging, and ski-mountaineering and, with many tandem-solos under her belt, Melissa has taught herself how to navigate in the mountains. The Evolution Traverse will challenge both her ability to route-find and push her limits physically and mentally.

Each of these climbers had the opportunity to fulfill their wildest mountain dreams, and you could too. Simply select the application that applies to your region (Rocky Mountain, Western, Southeast, Central, Northwest) and tell the AAC about your climbing plans. The project you describe should, according to the AAC’s guidelines,”accurately demonstrate a progression in skills and experience and outline an obtainable yet personally difficult goal” and occur within one year of March 1, the application due date.

Grant recipients, in return for the AAC’s gift, have a few tasks to complete along the way. First, the AAC asks that each project develop a creative report explaining the journey for the Club’s publications and for future applicants. You could be next year’s inspiration! Second, these recipients will work with the AAC as American Alpine Club Ambassadors in their climbing endeavors – not a bad partnership to have up your sleeve, we say.

The AAC Live Your Dreams grant application is open from January 1 to March 1, and is available for digital download. Winners will hear from the AAC by April 15, and will likely be awarded anywhere from $200 to $1000.

Take your chances with the AAC this year, and you could be the next lucky climber to Live Your Dreams!