Dougald MacDonald Awarded for Literature Excellence by the AAC

Your invitation to the 2023 AAC Annual Benefit Gala, March 10-11.

On Monday afternoon, as I was packing to travel to a conference, Natalie was going through the mail and handed me a modest postcard and said, “You’re invited to a dinner.”

How quaint. Usually, someone just calls or emails me for dinner. But this wasn’t from a friend or a donor from work. This was very different. New York City would be the site of this year’s Annual Benefit Dinner of the American Alpine Club.

I put it on my desk next to a list of questions for a future post about the future of the American Alpine Journal. I had three interviews to do, questions for Dougald MacDougald, the Executive Editor of the AAJ. Dougald and I have been exchanging messages about when to talk, but work (the day job,) has been dominating my time.

I should have reached out to Dougald sooner. He came up in my social media feed associated with that sharp gala logo as soon as I returned from my conference: Dougald was being honored as the H. Adams Carter Literary Award for Excellence in Climbing Literature.

If you’re wondering why Dougald, well, he hasn’t written a smashing best seller or wrote about a dashing first ascent in pure style for Alpinist, rather he has been conveying news and curating the record of the world’s most significant climbs in the annual American Alpine Journal, periodic updates online, and a podcast. Just a few weeks ago, I pointed out that Dougald’s list of climbing-book recommendations was the best, of literally thousands, on the Web.

His influence and character have ripples everywhere he goes. For example, he’s helped me with content and given me encouragement. And I am clearly not alone in that regard; Dougald’s Facebook friends responded warmly to his understated news of his recognition by pointing out his contributions to various publications and their own work as well as the enjoyment they share in the publications he leads.

Here is what the ACC included in its Meet the Awardees page about MacDonald:

“After learning to climb as a teenager in New England, Dougald MacDonald published his first climbing story (about ice routes on Maine’s Mt. Katahdin) in Summit magazine in 1983. Professionally, he spent the first quarter of his career as a business journalist, eventually serving as editor of the weekly Denver Business Journal for five years.

“In the early 1990s, he switched to climbing journalism, writing hundreds of articles and a book, Longs Peak: The Story of Colorado’s Favorite Fourteener. He has been editor-in-chief of two climbing magazines—Rock & Ice and Climbing—and co-founded Trail Runner Magazine. Since mid-2012, he has edited the American Alpine Journal currently hosts The Cutting Edge podcast and supervises other AAC publications.

“He considers his greatest career accomplishment to be mentoring dozens of writers and editors over the years. After decades of climbing, he still gets out at least once a week at home in Colorado and travels frequently—often with his wife, Chris Blackmon—for climbing, trekking, or skiing.”

Dougald wondered whether what he did was actually literature. Well, if journalism is indeed literature in a hurry, Dougald has nothing to be concerned about, but I do consider the AAJ an invaluable part of climbing literature.

So, to all of you heading to Manhattan for the gala, and even if you’re not, be sure to raise a glass to Dougald on March 11th.

Well, thanks for dropping by. If you enjoyed this post, please consider joining my email list, which is the best way to get updates. (I am on Facebook and Twitter too, but make sure your preferences will allow you to see my posts.) Thanks again and be well!