Cutting Edge Grant, Mountaineering Fellowship Fund Grant, McNeill Nott Award, & Jones Grants Now Open

Photo of grant winner Catherine Tao by Tess Ferguson.

Photo of grant winner Catherine Tao by Tess Ferguson.

We are excited to announce the October 1st opening of four of our climbing grants: the Cutting Edge Grant, the Mountaineering Fellowship Fund Grant, the McNeill Nott Award, and the Jones Backcountry Adventure Grants. These grants are detailed below and applications for all close on November 30.


The Cutting Edge Grant

This grant funds experienced climbers and mountaineers planning expeditions to remote areas featuring unexplored mountain ranges, unclimbed peaks, difficult new routes, first free ascents, or similar world-class pursuits.

In 2019, our Cutting Edge Grant winner Chris Wright and his team accomplished the first ascent of Link Sar in Pakistan. Hear all about their expedition in the recent Cutting Edge Podcast interview.

The Mountaineering Fellowship Fund Grant

This opportunity funds American climbers age 25 years and younger to go into remote areas and seek out climbs more difficult than they might ordinarily be able to do. Unexplored mountain ranges, unclimbed peaks, and difficult new routes are looked upon with favor, as is an emphasis on “fFellowship” and growth as a team.

In 2019, a group of women mountaineers ventured into the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska, with a goal of putting first ascents up a number of unnamed peaks. They accomplished their goals, and learned to grow as a team in the process. Learn more about their expedition in this write-up from Alaska Public Media.

The McNeill-Nott Award

Following the untimely death of Sue Nott and her partner Karen McNeill on Mt. Foraker in 2006, The AAC partnered with Mountain Hardwear to establish the McNeill-Nott Award in Karen and Sue’s memory. The award seeks to preserve the spirit of these two talented and courageous climbers by giving grants to amateur climbers exploring new routes or unclimbed peaks with small and lightweight teams. The Award focuses on projects that have strong exploratory and adventuresome mountaineering objectives.

2018 McNeill-Nott winners Tess Ferguson and Catherine Tao traveled to The Nyainbo Yuze (年保玉則) range in western China. Tao shared this reflection on her return to the US: “It was chock full of new learning experiences—physically, culturally, and emotionally. Between the challenge of finding ways to quell the anxiety of waiting out bad weather days to the utter elation of standing on top of my first international first ascent, there is much I am looking forward to in future expeditions.”


Jones Backcountry Adventure Grants

The Jones Backcountry Adventure Grant looks to supports a multi-day splitboarding expedition with a strong exploratory and adventure component. The project objective may focus on a single descent/summit or a tour/traverse of a region. The Jones Live Like Liz Award has the same criteria as the Jones Backcountry Adventure Grant but is open only to female applicants. In September 2014, Jones ambassador and mountain guide Liz Daley was killed in an avalanche accident in Argentina. This award is dedicated to Liz and the radiant passion for splitboard exploration that she was known for.

Jamie Vincent of Salt Lake City, UT was awarded the 2018 Live Like Liz Award to explore Glacier National Park by bicycle and splitboard. A substitute teacher as well as coach the Westminster Snowboard Team, Jamie pedaled up the Going-To-The-Sun road before the road was open to cars. At the bicycle road closure she strapped into her splitboard to travel higher into the mountains and explore the national park for her first time.


In 2019, American Alpine Club grant winners continued to dream big, push boundaries, embrace new experiences, and explore the literal height of what’s possible in the mountains. From glacier basecamps to backyard tours, Chamonix to the Karakoram to Mt. Baker, AAC grant winners represented the Club on expeditions large and small in pursuit of that indescribable freedom that comes from doing what you love in beautiful places.

Applications for this year’s adventures are now open and will remain open until November 30. Email [email protected] with any questions. We can’t wait to see where your next adventures will take you!