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Northeast Region Live Your Dream Grant Winners Announced

5/21/2012, Golden, CO—The Northeast Region of the American Alpine Club is pleased to announce the winners of the first Live Your Dream Grant. The grant—new this year—was born from the idea that the most important climbs are our own. It funds individuals or small teams in the pursuit of their climbing dreams. The Live Your Dream grants provide seed money to climbers—of all disciplines, ages, and abilities—who have ambitions to expand their climbing horizons.

The four grant winning teams from the Northeast Region plan trips to Peru, Wyoming, and Alaska:

• Erik Eisele and partner Michael Wejchert's dream is to push the alpine skills they've acquired and honed in the mountains of New England out into the word's greater ranges. Eisele and Wejchert will live this dream by attempting a new route on Urus Este (5,420 m) in Peru's Cordillera Blanca.

• Sean Yaw's dream is to climb a big route in the mountains, a route that will take multiple days on technical terrain. This summer, before graduate school and “a ‘nine-to-five job with health insurance and two weeks of vacation a year’” that he sees inevitably in his future, he will live this dream via an attempt, with partner Bryan Friedrichs, of a route on Broken Tooth (9,050') in the Alaska Range.

• Brian Threlkeld and Paul Clifford share a dream to climb as an efficient team, traveling light and fast on technical alpine rock. They will spend two weeks this summer on the long, remote climbs of the Cirque of the Towers in the Wind River Range, pushing their alpine rock skills to the next level, both individually and as a team.

• Alison Criscitiello and partner Lauren Peritz both dream of being well-rounded climbers with the skills to be able to travel comfortably in the mountains on technical snow, rock, ice, and mixed terrain. Criscitiello describes herself as “a mountaineer comfortable on ice and snow”. Peritz, on the other hand, is “primarily a rock climber with less experience in the big mountains”. Together, they will visit the Little Switzerland area of the Central Alaska Range and climb the long rock routes off the Pika Glacier. The trip will require their combined skill-sets and allow them to both teach and learn from each other.

The “Live Your Dream” Climbing Grants are developed and administered locally with community support—each Region of the American Alpine Club has it’s own grant program.

In the Northeast Region, the “Live Your Dream” Climbing Grant seeks to support climbers from a range of ages and experience levels, as well as a range of climbing disciplines (sport climbing, bouldering, traditional rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, etc.). Climbers from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland are eligible for the Northeast Region grant.

The AAC launched the program this year with $12,000, which will be distributed to at least a dozen individuals or small teams in pursuit of their personal climbing dreams. The emphasis of the grant is on projects that have significant positive impact on grantees’ progressions as climbers. Regions have been encouraged to supplement that funding with fundraising events in their own areas. The 2012 Northeast Region “Live Your Dream” Climbing Grants have the support of the American Alpine Club, the Mount Washington Valley Ice Festival, and individual donors.

The winners were selected by a committee consisting of Northeastern climbers Carolyn Riccardi, Pete Ward, Jack Tracey, Freddie Wilkinson, and Northeast Regional Coordinator Sarah Garlick. Garlick said, by email, “Freddie was off in Nepal on an expedition, so he emailed and phoned in his opinions from his tent! We received so many inspiring applications, it was quite difficult to narrow them down to the final grant winners. The committee looked for the applications that distinguished themselves from the others. In the end, the winners held two main things in common: their proposed projects demonstrated both a clear progression in their personal climbing experiences, and that they would help them attain long-held climbing dreams.”

“The committee would like to congratulate all the grant winners and wish them safe and successful climbing trips. We are looking forward to the next round of Live Your Dream grant applications—deadline September 1. We loved all the alpine climbing applications in the first round, so keep them coming — but please spread the word to your rock climbing friends too! We'd love to see more sport climbing, trad climbing, and bouldering applications!” said Garlick.

About the Live Your Dream Grant

Each Region of The American Alpine Club has its own local grants programs to support climbers in realizing their climbing ambitions and dreams. These grants are developed and administered locally with community support. 

The purpose of the Northeast "Live Your Dream" Grant is to fund individuals or small teams in pursuit of their personal climbing dreams. The emphasis of the grant is on projects that have significant positive impact on grantees’ progressions as climbers, as opposed to cutting-edge or exploratory objectives. We seek to support climbers from a range of ages and experience levels, as well as a range of climbing disciplines (sport climbing, bouldering, traditional rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, etc.). Climbers  from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Washington D.C., Massachusetts, and Maryland are  eligible for the Northeast Region grant.

About The American Alpine Club
The American Alpine Club is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides knowledge and inspiration, conservation and advocacy, and logistical support for the climbing community. The AAC advocates for American climbers domestically and around the world; provides grants and volunteer opportunities to protect and conserve the places we climb; hosts local and national climbing festivals and events; publishes two of the world’s most sought-after climbing annuals, The American Alpine Journal and Accidents in North American Mountaineering; cares for the world’s leading climbing library and country’s leading mountaineering museum; manages the Grand Teton Climbers’ Ranch as part of a larger lodging network for climbers; and annually gives $80,000+ toward climbing, conservation, and research grants to adventurers who travel the world. Learn about additional programs and become a member at americanalpineclub.org. Join the AAC’s online community at facebook.com/americanalpineclub, americanalpineclub.org/news, or follow all the latest press on the Club’s Press Room RSS feed at americanalpineclub.org/prfeed.