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freeze//thaw: Ice Climbing in a Changing Climate

Author(s): American Alpine Club
Video Release Date: October 17, 2023
Video Source: YouTube

Climbers are out there—we climb the highest peaks, roam deserts, and explore the woods for the most inspiring boulders. And the climbing community has been increasingly seeing anecdotal evidence of climate change impacting our climbing landscapes. But stories are one thing–scientific evidence, on the other hand, can be our topo for advocating for change.

In a first-of-its-kind study that was a finalist for the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA) Mountain Protection Award, a team from the American Alpine Club joined up with climate researchers from the University of New Hampshire and the University of Calgary to take a close look at the historical data on seasonal temperatures and ice season length in the Mount Washington Valley of New Hampshire, one of the premiere ice climbing destinations in the United States. With the context of this historical data, the team ultimately created a climate model to predict the length of ice climbing seasons in the future under moderate and high emission scenarios. The AAC team also interviewed dozens of guides in the region to gather qualitative data about how tumultuous climate impacts are impacting the guiding economy that is an integral part of these NH mountain communities. Ultimately—climate change is impacting climbing and the economies built around it. But we’re ready to do something about it. Learn about our climate research and how it’s impacting climbing by diving into this film!

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