I’m absolutely thrilled that the American Alpine Club (AAC) has reversed its decision and is making the American Alpine Journal (AAJ) publicly available as it has been in the past.
Every summer, members of the AAC receive their copy of the AAJ and a copy of the Accidents in North American Mountaineering. This year, the accompanying letter said that AAJs would not be available for purchase by non-members.
In the past — before I was a member — I always enjoyed finding a copy of the yearbook of climbing in Barnes and Noble stores. It had a scholarly tone and took the accomplishments and attempts in its pages very seriously. It gave the sport of mountaineering an extra hand in being dignified. It also helps promote the pursuit of summits, new routes and mountain exploration as something mankind needed to maintain a record of. It says what we do is important.
When I received the 2011 AAJ and the letter, I was surprised and taken aback by the decision. I was also in the midst of a busy time at work and a number of exciting changes at home, otherwise I would have voiced my disagreement. Of course, I received my copy, so I could also say I was less concerned content at the same time. In fact, this reversal has made me think once again just how important the AAJ really is.
Today, the AAC announced that they are reversing their decision. Nearly 100 members weighed in; some agreed and some did not. Ultimately, the AAC decided the new approach was not the right one and the adventurous among our society are all the better for it!