The American Alpine Club (AAC) recently announced at its annual meeting in Bend, Oregon, the 2007 winners of two AAC grant programs, backing expeditions from Greenland to Tibet. Nine teams were awarded a total of $18,000 in grants and $10,000 in equipment sponsorship through the generous contribution of AAC Industry Partner Cascade Designs, makers of Therm-a-Rest and MSR products.
The Lyman Spitzer Cutting-Edge Awards are given annually to promote state-of-the-art climbing and bold first ascents in the world's great mountain ranges. With over $12,000 in cash and $10,000 in equipment, this is one of the largest climbing grants in the world.
AAC Lyman Spitzer Committee Chair Dougald MacDonald remarked that, â€œThis was one of the most competitive pool of applicants in the history of the grant. 2007 should be a great year for American climbing.â€
The AAC's 2007 Lyman Spitzer Cutting-Edge Awards were given to six teams:
â€¢Jonny Copp and Michael Pennings, for an alpine-style attempt on an enormous rock wall in Kashmir, India.
â€¢Micah Dash, Aide Jebb (UK), and David Noddings (UK), for an all-free attempt on the striking rock pyramid of Dojitsenga (5,700 meters) in the Kangri Garpo Range of southeastern Tibet.
â€¢Scott DeCapio and Kelly Cordes, for an attempt on unclimbed K7 West (6,858 meters) in Pakistan.
â€¢Cory Richards, Eammon Walsh (CAN), and Dana Ruddy (CAN), to attempt the unclimbed Southeast Face of Huantsan (6,369 meters) in the Cordillera Blanca of Peru.
â€¢Dave Turner, for a solo attempt on a new big-wall route on Cerro Escudo, Patagonia.
â€¢Josh Wharton and Bean Bowers, to attempt the much-tried North Ridge of Latok I (7,145 meters) in Pakistan.
Also announced at the AAC annual meeting were the winners of the inaugural McNeill-Nott Award, given in remembrance of alpinists Karen McNeill and Sue Nott, who were lost on the slopes of Mount Foraker in May 2006. The new grant is funded by private donors and by AAC Industry Partner Mountain Hardwear, which sponsored both climbers. The grant program backs climbers who do not receive any corporate cash sponsorship. This year's recipients are:
â€¢Jessica Drees and Erin Whorton, for unclimbed routes in the Fox Jaw Cirque of Greenland.
â€¢Joe Puryear and Chad Kellogg, for a new route on 20,505-foot Mt. Siguniang in Sichuan, China.
â€¢Jon Sullivan and Liu Yong (CHI), to attempt unclimbed, 5,000-meter-plus peaks in the Bipeng Valley of Sichuan, China.
McNeill-Nott Committee Chair Rolando Garibotti commented that, â€œThe expeditions awarded this year will set the tone for the future of this grant. The grantees represent ideas and endeavors that Karen and Sue would have wanted to support.â€
The AAC Grants Program awards over $50,000 annually to fund climbers, researchers, and conservation programs. The Lyman Spitzer and McNeill-Nott grants are awarded once a year. Applications are due March 1 and can be found at www.AmericanAlpineClub.org.
About the American Alpine Club
The American Alpine Club is the premier national organization in the U.S. devoted to the multitude of issues facing rock climbers and mountaineers. For more than 100 years, the AAC has led mountaineering adventure, scientific research, and education in the U.S. The Club's active membership ranges from beginning climbers to a â€œwho's whoâ€ of the world's most experienced mountaineers. The organization's dedication to education and conservation drives dissemination of knowledge and continued study and scientific exploration of the high mountains of the world, from the Arctic Circle to the peaks of Antarctica. For more information on the AAC, and to learn how to become active in the organization and the sport of climbing, visit the AAC web site at www.AmericanAlpineClub.org.