The Spirit of Alpinism

(360) 671-1505

Coronavirus Policy

Updated November 19, 2020
Please check back regularly for updates.

American Alpine Institute’s 2020 summer season has concluded, and we are now registering participants for our winter season, including backcountry skiing, avalanche courses, desert rock climbing, and other programs. We continue to monitor the international and local health conditions closely in all areas where we have operations.

After the initial COVID-19 lockdowns in the spring, AAI was able to reopen in the Cascades on June 20, 2020 with revised operational policies and procedures to limit the spread of the pandemic. The summer season was successful; trips generally ran at or close to capacity (with new capacity limits to comply with Washington’s phased reopening requirements). Programs also ran successfully in many of our other locations.

During the course of the 2020 summer season, AAI closely monitored a small number of cases in which participants or members of the AAI staff reported symptoms.  None of those cases resulted in a positive test result for SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the pandemic.

Looking forward, we hope to run trips in as many of our program locations as feasible. However, it is important to note that several states in which we have operations are currently experiencing, or have recently experienced, significant growth in COVID-19 case numbers.  As you plan your activities, please bear in mind that these areas may be affected by public health directives. These states include:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Nevada
  • Utah
  • Washington

Please call our office at (360) 671-1505 for more information, as our many permit areas in North America are each subject to individual federal, state, and local reopening guidelines and rapidly changing public health conditions.

Cancellation & Postponement Policy

It remains difficult to predict how the coronavirus outbreak may affect the program for which you are registering or have registered. To help reduce your financial risk, and to reduce pressure on you to attend a trip when public health conditions pose a high risk to yourself or others, we have adopted a policy that will allow you to plan your trip with the assurance that you can postpone if necessary.

If international, federal, state, or local health directives, regulations, or closures, or your own personal health concerns related to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) prevent you from attending a program for which you have made the required payments, or prevent the Institute from running it, your deposits and payments may be converted to a credit toward a program at a later date.  To qualify, you need to keep up payments and notify us in a timely way to request a postponement. The credit could be applied to any future AAI program (subject to AAI’s normal Terms and Conditions). There will be absolutely no restriction on what programs you choose or the dates of those programs.

Travel Insurance

As with any significant investment, an investment in travel plans should have some form of insurance to limit your financial risk.  A travel insurance policy from a reputable company such as Ripcord is one way to do this.  Some people may prefer instead to self-insure, or absorb possible losses themselves.  Travel insurance is an integral component of AAI’s financial model.  We expect our participants to choose carefully whether to purchase travel insurance or to self-insure, and to bear the cost either way.  Financially, we feel it is the safest, most prudent thing to do.

A note for those who choose to purchase a travel insurance policy:  At the time of this writing, AAI’s recommended travel insurance provider, Ripcord, offers a "cancel for any reason" option that will cover trip cancellation due to “personal reasons”, even if those reasons are related to Covid-19. Many policies without a “cancel for any reason” rider may not cover Covid-19 cancellations if the policy was purchased after December 31, 2019.  As always, there are many differences between travel insurance policies, products, and exclusions, and it is important for you to consult your insurer for further details.

Business Hours

Our administrative offices have resumed regular business hours, 9 – 5:30 (Pacific time), Monday – Friday.

For More Information

For authoritative information about the COVID-19 outbreak and coronavirus disease, please see the resources on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, including


If you are ready to register now, please follow the link below to our online registration form.
We sure look forward to having you with us!

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