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Southeast Region Live Your Dream Grant Winners Announced

7/12/2012, Golden, CO—The Southeast 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 five grant winning teams from the Southeast Region plan trips to California, the Tetons, Smith Rock, New Hampshire, West Virginia, and Kentucky with goals of testing themselves on classic routes, climbing alpine rock with family members, and reconnecting with friends over classic Sierra granite: 

Brendan Kehde—Various Routes, Palisades Glacier, Sierra Nevada Range, CA
Brendan and his partner plan to climb several technical alpine routes in the Palisade Glacier region of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. The pair are childhood friends, now in their late-thirties, who are carving out time from work and family to have an adventure together and bring climbing back into their lives. 

Brendan said, via email, “Climbing stopped for both of us when our kids came onto the scene. I went as far from it as moving to South Florida, with not a hill for hundreds of miles or a climbing gym within fifty. David has settled in West Virginia and decided to try his hand at farming, and now has chickens and goats, along with a huge garden. But three years ago on a summer vacation in North Carolina, I had the brief opportunity to touch rock again, and I rediscovered how special it is to me, and realized I still identify myself as a climber…”

Chris Latham—Various Routes, Grand Teton National Park, WY
Latham’s objective is to climb the Grand Teton, via the Exum Ridge or Owens-Spalding Route, prior to his 40th Birthday. 

Chris said, via email, “Ever since seeing the jagged spires of the Tetons on a road trip while in college it has been my dream to climb there. There was something magical about being in that valley. I felt a pull to move toward the peaks that is still felt just as keenly today. To finally put my feet on those trails and strive for the top before I turn forty next spring would not only be a long-time dream realized, it would also provide much needed motivation and help to serve as a catalyst for other, more ambitious alpine objectives.”

John Chipouras & Kevin Ziechmann—Various Routes, Smith Rock, OR
Chipouras and Ziechmann plan to test their sport climbing mettle on classic sport routes at the historically significant Smith Rock in Oregon—specifically targeting Spank the Monkey (5.12d) as an objective.

John said, “My objective is to get out of my South East stomping ground and have a new climbing experience on the west coast. I would like to take a trip to climb a classic route that is approximately at my limit. I have only ever been climbing in the Southeast from Rocktown, GA to Slade KY. My 5 years in climbing has led to realize sport climbing is what I enjoy most…”

Kevin indicated, “As a sport climber who has only climbed in the southeast, Smith Rock makes for an ideal proving ground and classroom of sorts. The sandstone routes at the New, and Red River Gorges have taught me volumes about movement, footwork, mental acuity and pushing my limits, but like a kid in a playground, I want to explore beyond my borders. These iconic climbs, at a crag steeped in history has more to teach me than I can learn on my own. Adding the factors of exposure, minimal bolting and unknown rock, and I’m certain that “Spank the Monkey” will be a milestone for my personal climbing career.”

Kyle Trettin—Direct Exum Ridge, Grand Teton, WY
Trettin plans a trip to climb the Direct Exum Ridge on Wyoming’s Grand Teton with his father, another long time climber.

He said, via email, “The Direct Exum Ridge isn’t the most technically difficult route, but it is a classic and a stepping stone for bigger and more difficult routes. Climbing the Grand Teton via route will subject me to many of the challenges of a bigger alpine objective. Regardless of the outcome of this climb, I will gain an experience which puts me one step closer to realizing my goal of climbing some of the most classic alpine routes in the world.”

Marc-Richard Telbaldi—Various Routes, Rumney Rocks, NH
Telbaldi plans a trip to New Hampshire, where he spent his formative years as a climber. He’d like to attempt projects that didn’t exist when he lived in the area, to test his development as a sport climber. 

Telbaldi said, via email, “I was there when the first bolted routes went in on Rattlesnake Mt. I was 18 and had only been climbing for a year…. bolting at Rumney was a superb feat. What could have become an unsafe, gridlock mess, was instead, a beautifully executed sport crag that would go into history...If I had one wish right now, it would be to go back to what developed into the paradise for sport-climbing. Specifically, [I’d like to] attempt two projects that I have not had the chance to send before. I have been dreaming about those climbs regularly, and I wish I could have the chance to go back to this beautiful crag and make my dream come true, which would be a grand progress for me as a climber.” 

Michael Farnsworth—Various Routes, New River & Red River Gorges, WV & KY
Farnsworth communicated to the Club, “The sandstone of the New and the Red occupied a very special place in my climbing adolescence. Growing up in central Virginia, I made frequent weekend trips to these climbing areas with high school friends beginning in the late 1990s. During this formative period, I was deeply inspired by the beauty of the stone and by the kinesthetic feel of climbing and began to embrace climbing as a lifestyle. Particularly, I sought to eventually climb some of the most striking lines in the region, which often turned out to be some of the harder area classics. My dream is to climb some of these lines. I believe I have finally reached a point in my climbing where I can realize this dream…” 

Sarah Gaskin—Various Routes, Sierra Nevada Range, CA
Gaskin intends, with her brother, to travel to California’s High Sierra and attempt multiple classic routes, culminating in an ascent of two classic lines on the Incredible Hulk.

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 Southeast 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 Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida are eligible for the Southeast 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.

Community Programs Director John Bragg said, via email, “ 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.”

About the Live Your Dream Grant Program
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 Southeast Region "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 Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida are eligible for the Southeast 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/americanalpineclubamericanalpineclub.org/news, or follow all the latest press on the Club’s Press Room RSS feed at americanalpineclub.org/prfeed.