New Climbing Grief Fund kicks off with fundraiser ’24-Hours into the Black’

Climber Madaleine Sorkin, along with seed money from Outdoor Research, help kick off AAC fund to help climbers process mountain accidents.
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Boulder, CO (May 5, 2018). -- The American Alpine Club (AAC) is releasing a new initiative called to better address the grief caused by climbing tragedies and help with the healing process of individuals and the community.

’24-Hours into the Black,’ is the initial fundraising climb, in the Black Canyon, to help launch the fund, along with seed money from Outdoor Research. On May 24, Boulder-based climber Madaleine Sorkin and Carbondale-based climber Mary Harlan will attempt to link-up three major routes in the Black Canyon within 24-hours. Follow them live on their fundraiser page, look for updates on AAC’s Facebook & webpage.

Impacted by the many tragic events of 2017, such as the deaths of Hayden Kennedy and Inge Perkins, and serious climbing accident of Quinn Brett, professional climber Madaleine Sorkin approached the AAC to create a community resource for grief. “I wanted our community to offer a place that bears witness to death, our pain and a way to return to the vitality of ourselves” Sorkin explained.

The Climbing Grief Fund’s will include:

• Development of a grief resource webpage to provide education and a community platform for sharing stories about grief or individuals lost as a result of a climbing accident.

• Individual grief counseling grants.

• Group counseling sessions at AAC Craggin' Classic events.

• Development of a proactive response network after a trauma or death in the climbing community.

To support the fundraising effort, Outdoor Research, the Seattle-based apparel and gear brand, which sponsors Sorkin and is involved with the AAC, is providing a match of up to $5,000 for all donations made to the Climbing Grief Fund between May 15 and June 15.

The fund is expected to be available in the Fall of 2018.

“A fund like this is long overdue and we hope it will build tremendously over the years through individual, company and organizational donations,” said Vickie Hormuth, Director of Strategic Partnerships at the AAC.

“This climb is motivated by the trauma of loss and change. People we knew, people we know, people we didn’t know and wish we had. Grief is part of the climbing experience, and while climbing is often fixated on stoke and sending, the expression of grief is also essential. We experience loss, we experience unwanted change, and inevitably we all find ourselves staring into the abyss, the void, the BLACK,” explains fund founder Madaleine Sorkin.

Christian Folk, director of marketing at Outdoor Research, said Sorkin’s effort resonated with his team.

“For as long as climbers have been venturing to the mountains, there has always been the unavoidable specter of loss when someone is involved in a mountain accident,” Folks said. “In general, there has been a lack of conversation around this topic, and a lack of resources when the unimaginable does happen, to help people figure out how to deal with these situations. We hope that this fund will help future victims of loss and grief be better able to cope.”

To Donate to The Climbing Grief Fund visit:

For more information about The Climbing Grief Fund visit:

Contacts for interested sponsors:

Madaleine Sorkin

Vickie Hormuth

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About American Alpine Club

The American Alpine Club is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose vision is a united community of competent climbers and healthy climbing landscapes. Together with our members, the AAC advocates for American climbers domestically and around the world; provides grants and volunteer opportunities to protect and conserve the places we climb; hosts local and national climbing festivals and events; publishes two of the world's most sought-after climbing annuals, the American Alpine Journal and Accidents in North American Climbing; cares for the world's leading climbing library and country's leading mountaineering museum; manages the Hueco Rock Ranch, New River Gorge Campground, Rumney Rattlesnake Campground, Samuel F. Pryor Shawangunk Gateway Campground, and Grand Teton Climbers' Ranch as part of a larger lodging network for climbers; and annually gives $100,000+ toward climbing, conservation, and research grants that fund adventurers who travel the world. Learn about additional programs and become a member at

About Outdoor Research

Outdoor Research® is dedicated to inspiring the journey ahead with award-winning technical apparel and accessories. Based in Seattle since 1981, we are committed to improving our customer’s experience through innovative materials, purpose-driven features, and versatile products that are backed by our Infinite Guarantee®. We rely on the real-world testing of our athlete ambassadors, mountain guides, and local adventurers involved in our core sports: alpinism, rock and ice climbing, hiking, backpacking, paddling, trail running, and backcountry skiing and snowboarding. We’re here for the fun, adventure, excitement, and For the Journey Ahead™. Get to know us at to follow the journey via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.


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