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Cory Richards

The American Alpine Club is pleased to announce that Cory Richards is the 2012 Rowell Award winner. The Rowell Award—For The Art of Adventure honors an adventurer whose artistic passion illuminates the wild places of the world, and whose accomplishments significantly benefit both the environment and the people who inhabit these lands and regions. It was established to celebrate the accomplishments of famed adventurers and photographers Galen and Barbara Rowell who died in a plane crash in 2002.

The award will be officially presented at the Mountainfilm Festival in Telluride in late May, 2012. The American Alpine Club is pleased to award Cory with this year’s $15,000 prize.

Cory Richards was selected for his work in photography, film, and philanthropy.

Richards is a talented Alpine climber and photographer with an amazing ability to capture moments of adventure. With his ascent of Gasherbrum II in February 2011, he became the first American to summit an 8,000m peak in winter. Richards documented the historical ascent, filming and taking pictures in spite of the frigid temperatures and harsh conditions—including an avalanche that almost killed the whole team. Ultimately, his documentary work ended up as the film, ColdThe film has won several awards: the Charlie Fowler Award—Telluride, the Spirit of Adventure Award—Five Point Film Festival, Best Film—New Zealand Mountain Film Festival, Best Film—Squamish Film Festival, and more.

Richards has traveled to Nepal 15 times in the last 2 years. He’s climbed several Himalayan peaks and established new routes on Kwangde Shar and Tawoche. His work for the Alex Lowe Foundation’s Khumbu Climbing School involved teaching and refining curriculum for young Nepalese climbers of many ethnicities who were taking courses to increase safety on the job among the highest peaks in the world. Richards has also traveled to the Mustang region of Nepal to help document an ongoing archeological project. 

Richards has shot for publications in the U.S. and Internationally—including National Geographic MagazineOutsideAlpinistVertical (Argentina), Desnivel (Spain), Rock & Ice, andClimbing. He has also regularly contributed articles to AlpinistRock & Ice, and Climbing.

Cory is inspired by the human elements, man’s struggle with the wilderness and nature. He has the rare ability to capture the rawness in all of us.