The Climbing for Change Alpine Scholarship

In partnership with Kai Lightner and the Climbing For Change Organization

Congratulations to the 2022 recipients:

Isabelle Wassilie
Adan Morales
Denice Rochelle
Ruth Rosas
Boris Llamas
Krain Chen

To apply for the 2023 scholarship, scroll down to Applications, below, or click here. To learn more about AAI's Spirit of Alpinism Scholarships, click here.


The purpose of the American Alpine Institute's Climbing for Change Alpine Scholarship is to encourage Black people, members of Indigenous groups, and People of Color (BIPOC) to take the next step in advancing their technical backcountry and mountain leadership skills by participating in one or more of the Alpine Institute's programs.

In today’s society, we understand that there are ongoing systemic, structural, and cultural barriers that uniquely affect members of the BIPOC communities. We understand that, over the years, many in these groups have been marginalized or outright excluded from outdoor programming.  

“There is a racial divide between those who participate in outdoor activities and those who don't, a yawning chasm I call 'the adventure gap'.”

– James Edward Mills, The Adventure Gap

The outdoor community, for all its ideals, has in many ways reflected the larger society. At AAI, we believe it is our responsibility, as industry leaders, to aid in the dismantling of boundaries in order to help all people gain access to the mountains.

It is our hope that this tuition scholarship, in conjunction with the generous equipment donations from our partners, will encourage more BIPOC individuals to join AAI's exceptional programs and continue their outdoor education. 

Scholarship Details

The Climbing for Change Alpine Scholarship is an annual tuition award valid toward selected AAI courses in amounts up to $2800. See the list of "Qualifying Programs", below, for details.

In addition, we have teamed up with a variety of equipment manufacturers to outfit the award winner with selected gear to further their mountain pursuits. Please see our list of Equipment Sponsors below.

Qualifying Programs

The funds can be applied to any of the following courses at American Alpine Institute. 


Eligibility Criteria

  • Self-identified as Black, Indigenous, and/or a Person of Color including Latinx, Asian, and mixed race
  • 18 years of age or older
  • Meet or exceed the listed prerequisites for the requested program(s)


Equipment Sponsors

Scholarship recipients will receive specially selected gear and/or clothing from our Spirit of Alpinism Scholarship equipment sponsors, including Black Diamond, Mountain Equipment, MSR, Petzl, Rab, Soto, and La Sportiva, Deuter, and Darn Tough.  Many thanks to our sponsors for helping to make this scholarship possible.

C4C Sponsor Logos



All applications received by April 15, 2023 will be reviewed for the 2023 scholarship. Awards will be announced in May.

To apply for the 2023 scholarship, click here.

To return to AAI's main scholarship page, click here.


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