Want to see outdoor enthusiasts at play? Then visit the Craggin' Classic, an annual weekend-long party filled with camping, eating, drinking, storytelling and fun -- with climbing jaunts mixed in. The America Alpine Club threw its first Craggin' Classic in its hometown of Golden, Colo., in the fall of 2008. The second Classic was a big success; more than 200 climbers from 13 countries gathered in Salt Lake City, Utah, in October 2009 [source: Lambert].
Events such as the Craggin' Classic, a yearly dinner, and regional and international gatherings are just one type of benefit the American Alpine Club offers.
With membership comes a subscription to The American Alpine Journal, a leading publication about climbing since 1929, and to The American Alpine News. Members also receive "Accidents in North American Mountaineering," an annual report on climbing accidents and what can be learned from others' mistakes.
In Golden, members can visit the American Mountaineering Center. There, the American Alpine Club has teamed with the Colorado Mountain Club to establish an educational and research facility. It includes a library, an interactive learning lab and spaces for programs and exhibits [source: American Mountaineering Center]. While in town, they can drop by the Bradford Washburn American Mountaineering Museum, a joint project of the American Alpine Club, the Colorado Mountain Club and the National Geographic Society [source: Bradford Washburn American Mountaineering Museum].
But members don't have to travel to Golden to take advantage of most of the club's offerings. Here are some other benefits of membership:
- A $5,000 rescue benefit from Global Rescue Service. The service rescues people who get stranded on mountains and in other hard-to-reach places, and takes them to medical help.
- Discounts at places that cater to climbers in the United States and several other countries. This includes the Climbers' Ranch that the club operates in Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park.
- Free shipping on orders from the vast library at the American Mountaineering Center.
- Access to all the "members only" features on the club's Web site.
Beyond what the American Alpine Club does for them, members may enjoy the knowledge that this venerable outdoor adventure club also uses their dues and donations to advocate for climbers. Maybe even more important, it works to preserve the mountains that give adventurous climbers their reason for being [source: American Alpine Club].