American Alpine Club Library – Golden, Colorado - Atlas Obscura

American Alpine Club Library

"All Mountains - All The Time." 


The American Alpine Club is where great Alpinists live on forever.

The club is chock full of historic archives, gear, and books from the 1500s to the present, all about the history and culture of humans going out into the mountains for adventure, exploration, science and fun.

The American Alpine Club Library and Archive has supported and documented the activities of the club and its members since 1916, and continues to serve as a resource to members, scholars, authors, journalists and the public, as well as a premier repository of the cultural record of climbing.

The library was established by a gift from Henry Montagnier, an American mountaineer living in Europe. It houses Mr. Montagnier’s collection of over 4,000 volumes focused on the Alps, with a particular interest in Mont Blanc, and includes many volumes which are quite rare today.

In an effort to improve accessibility for its growing membership, the AAC headquarters and library were moved to Golden, Colorado in 1993. A 1922 Beaux Arts building was purchased and renovated by the AAC, the Colorado Mountain Club and Outward Bound West. The 3rd floor of the building features a mural by noted Santa Fe artist Gerald R. Cassidy entitled Dawn of the West. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.

In 1997, AAC member and 1983 Everest Expedition member John Boyle donated the John M. Boyle Himalayan Library consisting of 2500 books in 28 languages (40% in English), 400 expedition reports, and 100 videos and films. Approximately half of the books are autographed by expedition participants.

Among the activities people can be found doing in the library are planning a trip, daydreaming about an expedition, learning in the museum, and researching books. Most head outside, inspired.

Know Before You Go

20 minutes west of Denver, in the heart of downtown Golden, across from Parfet Park. Parking lot in the back of the building, free.

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