The Climbing for Change Alpine Scholarship

In partnership with Kai Lightner and the Climbing For Change Organization

Applications are accepted Feb 1 through October 31. Winners are selected in December. To apply for the scholarship 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.  Rentals for the program you register for are also free of charge.


Qualifying Programs

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




  • 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)

An application missing a resume, letter of recommendation, or outdoor/climbing/skiing resume is considered incomplete and will not be considered for the scholarship. For more information or tips on outdoor resume creation, feel free to email us at [email protected]

The Climbing 4 Change Alpine Scholarship is open for applications February 1 - October 31. We will announce winners late December .

To apply for the scholarship, click here.



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