Surprisingly, six of the seven continents are not represented in this year's Shipton-Tilman team destinations. This should not be seen as a sign that there are no new challenges within those borders.
Instead, the Asian focus stands as proof to the increased opportunities and cooperation through the shifting political and ideological landscape of that continent.
In fact, one team is receiving unprecedented assistance from the Chinese Army and has been granted access to previously classified documents. W. L. Gore & Associates, inventors of GORE-TEXÂ® fabric, is once again proud to support the teams taking advantage of these new destinations by awarding grants totaling $30,000 through the Shipton-Tilman Grant program.
The annual program was established by Gore as a tribute to the spirit of adventure embodied by legendary explorers Eric Shipton (b. 1907) and Bill Tilman (b. 1897). Now in its 19th year, the program provides funds to be divided among expeditions that are most in harmony with Shipton and Tilman's philosophies.
Eric Shipton and Bill Tilman are arguably the greatest adventurers of this past century. They believed in traveling in small, compact teams, unburdened by porters and excessive bulk surviving on the bare minimum required to achieve their goal.
Applications are accepted from small, unencumbered teams of friends with daring and imaginative goals.
The expedition team must plan to accomplish their feat in a self-propelled, environmentally sound and cost-effective way.
â€œThis is a very exciting time for those with a passion for adventure and exploration. New cooperation and relaxed restrictions have added sites that were believed to be unreachable,â€ said Cynthia Amon, Gore Public Relations. â€œGore is proud to continue the Shipton Tilman program and support further exploration in Asia and the other corners of the world.â€
The following seven teams receiving grants in 2009:
British Chang Himal North Face Expedition, awarded $3,000
Nick Bullock and Andy Houseman have received funding for their expedition later in the year to Chang Himal in the Kangchenjunga region of Nepal. Their main goal is to conquer the unclimbed North Face of Chang Himal. There have been previous attempts by other teams but none successful.
Climbing and Exploration of Batura Glacier and Batura Massif, awarded $4,000
The two-person, climber-journalist team of Pat Deavoll and Paul Hersey has identified the Batura Massif and Batura Glacier in the sub-range of the Karakoram Range of Northern Pakistan as their objective for 2009. The glacier is the largest and longest outside of the Polar Regions. Towering at the end of the glacier is the peak known as Kampire Dior (7168 m), or â€œVillage of the Old Womanâ€ in the local dialect. If time and conditions permit, the team will attempt this summit.
Going Big in "Little" China, awarded $3,000
The Chinese Tien Shan is one of the world's least explored and more unclimbed major mountain range. The team, Kyle Dempster and Kelly Cordes, will take four weeks to explore and climb hoping to reach Xuelian Feng, or Snow Lotus Peak the highest peak in the range at approximately 21,000 feet.
Into Nowhere, awarded $6,000
A team of two Scandinavians and one American, Martin Adserballe, Janne Corax and Jeff Garnard, plan a combined bicycle and mountaineering expedition in Tibet's Chang Tang region. Called one of â€œthe last practically unexplored places on Earthâ€ by legendary biologist George Schaller, the area is too harsh for even the hardy Tibetan nomads. It is possible that the team will travel 40 consecutive days without encountering another human.
On the Oikumena's Edge, awarded $7,500
Oikumena is a Russian word referring to an area inhabited by humans. The two-man Russia team, Seryy Sergej and Bochkov Sergej, seeks trek along that edge and bisect the Kamchatka Peninsula, moving from the volcano Alney to the tiny settlement of Palana. If successful, they will be the first team to traverse the Sredinny Mountain Range.
Seerdengpu, awarded $2,000
The Seerdengpu is a knife edged rock peak in southwestern China. This is the
last great prize in the region for climbers. The mountain has had many unsuccessful attempts and no climbers have ever even attempted the northwest ridge. The peak reaches up to 5592m. The two-man team of David
Sharratt and Patrick Goodman plan to climb the striking and highly challenging 1400m northwest ridge with no fixed rope or fixed gear.
Year of the Ox Expeditions, Part 1 of 2, 2009: SOLO to Absolute Virgin Earth, awarded $4,500
Solo climber Mike Libecki has conducted extensive research, including collaborating with the Chinese military and declassified top secret maps and documents, to plan trek to the summits that create the border between China and Kyrgyzstan. Only Kyrgyzstan nomads and Chinese military have been to this region. Mike will use many solo climbing techniques he has developed to ascend the unclimbed walls he will encounter.
About the Shipton-Tilman Grant Program: Applications are accepted from small, unencumbered teams of friends with daring and imaginative goals. The expedition team must plan to accomplish their feat in a self-propelled, environmentally sound, and cost-effective way.
The application deadline for the Shipton-Tilman Grant is March 1 of each year. A panel of independent judges meets annually in March to review all applications and looks for projects that exemplify the Shipton-Tilman philosophy. Teams receive a grant ranging from $2000 to $10,000.
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