Who we are
Since 1896, the Academic Alpine Club of Zurich (AACZ) has brought together mountaineers with a connection to Zurich’s academic institutions. We engage in all varieties of alpinism. In summer, our members go alpine climbing and mountaineering; in winter, we go ski-touring and ice-climbing.
In 2021, the club celebrates its 125th anniversary. In the past century and a bit, members of the AACZ have made numerous first ascents , organised or taken part in some notable international expeditions and visited countless summits in the Alps and elsewhere.
Currently, the AACZ has about 160 members, who usually stay connected to the club for many years. Long-lasting friendships often develop from our shared experiences in the mountains.
The AACZ owns and operates the Windgällen Hut in the Maderanertal, in Canton Uri, and the Mischabel Hut, above Saas-Fee in the Valais Alps. We thus make a contribution to Switzerland’s mountaineering infrastructure.
Our mountain activities are guideless
The AACZ was founded to engage in climbing without guides. Today, our tours continue to be organised without a mountain guide or formal tour leader and on the basis of self-responsibility. It is therefore important that participants have a solid basis of alpine skills, and a capacity for accurately judging risk and their own capabilities. Nonetheless, we are a diverse group whose tours and activities vary widely in difficulty and the skills and commitment required.
How the club works
We are a small club and personal contact is important to us. This is fostered at regular meetings to exchange ideas and make plans; at termly meetings (“Semestersitzungen”) to discuss current topics and events or to present alpine experiences; or at the major club events, such as an annual dinner in January or the club’s anniversaries, which are celebrated alternately at our two huts.
About eight to 12 times a year, we organise club tours from a mountain hut or other accommodation. For alpinistic activities, the participants team up according to their preferences and and conduct their tours independently.
But these common club tours are only a fraction of our activities. Most tours are undertaken informally, and are organised by our members themselves, often using our Slack channel as a helpful communications tool.
We see ourselves mainly as a club of mountain enthusiasts who spontaneously join up to climb peaks together, experience the mountains and discover the alpine world!
We welcome all students, PhD students, post-docs, employees and alumni of Zurich’s academic institutions with alpine experience. We cordially invite you to get to know us, get involved in the club and become a member. We look forward to meeting you.