April 30, 2015, Golden, CO—The American Alpine Club (AAC) is proud to announce the recipients of the 2015 Live Your Dream grant, powered by The North Face. This year we were able to fund 84 dream projects by individuals looking to push their limits and realize their climbing ambitions.
Founded in 2012, the Live Your Dream grant is the first national grant program to support and promote unforgettable experiences for climbers—specifically, experiences that provide the skills and confidence to realize one's climbing ambitions; to dream big, to grow as climbers, and to inspire others. The program was born from the idea that the most important climbs out there are our own. In support of adventure and personal growth, the AAC provides seed money to individuals or small teams—of all disciplines, ages, and abilities—who have ambitions to build skills and confidence and expand their climbing horizons.
The North Face is a national partner and supporter of the American Alpine Club and the Live Your Dream grant. Additionally, the grant is made possible in part through the following local supporters: Mount Washington Valley Ice Festival, Touchstone Climbing & Fitness, and the Kidder Aspiring Alpinist Award.
In total the AAC's 2015 Live Your Dream grant received a record-breaking 681 applications. Six regional volunteer committees awarded 84 grants, totaling over $50,000. The recipients and their dream projects are outlined below.
Lucas Barth: Ukiah, CA: $200
Lucas has spent the last four years in and out of Yosemite National Park developing his skills—and in doing so he has climbed many of the classic lines in Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows. His dream has evolved into developing his own lines, adding his vision to the long legacy of Yosemite climbing. Specifically, Barth will focus his attention on first ascents in the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne and Peak 11,357. His backcountry, multi-pitch first ascents will follow a ground-up ethic.
Nilo Batle: San Francisco, CA: $400
Nilo will be traveling to Arco, Italy to complete in the IFSC Youth Bouldering World Cup from August 28 through September 6, 2015. When Nilo began climbing three years ago, his only goal was to impress a girl and win her affection. This year, on a whim, he decided to compete in his first ABS season and, to his surprise, qualified for Nationals where he placed fourth in the Male A group, thus qualifying him to compete in the World Cup.
Tara Bhuthimethee: Dublin, CA: $200
Tara will be heading to Wyoming to attempt the Grand Teton Lower & Upper Exum routes as well as the Durrance route on Devil's Tower. Both routes will challenge her—in length, difficulty, and style. She hopes to apply skills she has developed in the gym and at her local crags to these larger, more committing objectives. Ultimately, she looks to move onto even more ambitious big-wall and alpine climbs.
Brett Bloxom: Bishop, CA: $500
Brett will take his skills to the next level by traveling to the Howser Towers of the Bugaboos with the main objective of All Along The Watchtower on North Howser Tower. His goal is to free climb as much of the route as possible, completing the route in a single push. Other trip objectives include an ascent of the Minaret, a sub peak of South Howser Tower. This trip will take the skills he has developed in the mountains, crags, and boulders of the Eastern Sierra and apply them in one of the premier alpine settings in North America.
Ian Bolliger: Berkeley, CA: $500
Ian's dream trip unites mountaineering with skiing objectives. Ian will travel to Alaska to attempt the Cassin Ridge on Denali, spending time acclimatizing and skiing the slopes and couloirs around 14k camp. One specific ski objective is the Orient Express. This ascent of Denali and technical ski descents combine skills built through numerous past experiences in the Sierra Nevada and North Cascades.
Peter Carey: Bakersfield, CA: $300
Peter has the goal of completing the portion of the Palisade Traverse that stretches from Thunderbolt Peak to Mt. Sill in a single, one-day push. With the ultimate goal of completing all 15 of California's 14,000-foot peaks, Thunderbolt–Sill encompasses the most difficult and technical terrain. This trip will require all of the skills Peter has developed and will challenge him both technically and mentally.
Miguel Diaz: Prescott, AZ: $200
Miguel's objective is an ascent of Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park via the Casual Route. Dreaming of bigger, longer alpine routes, climbing the Diamond represents a stepping-stone in his climbing experience and personal progression. He will be applying the skills he has been developing on Sedona's sandstone spires to the committing alpine environment of the Rocky Mountains.
Jonathan Foley: San Francisco, CA: $500
Jonathan built his climbing skills at the East coast crags of Rumney, the Gunks, the Red River Gorge, and the New River Gorge. After moving west and experiencing the climbing in the Eastern Sierra, Yosemite, and Tahoe, Jonathan has come to view the alpine environment as the testing ground to apply his climbing skills and progress to longer, more challenging objectives. Jonathan will travel to the Wind River Range of Wyoming to attempt the Northeast Face of Pingora Peak and the Wolf's Head routes located in the Cirque of the Towers.
Logan Fusso: Reno, NV: $250
Logan has always dreamed of establishing his own routes. To fulfill this objective, Logan will travel to the Selkirk Mountains in the Valhalla Range to explore technical route development in a difficult-to-reach area north of Mt. Gimli. He has developed his skills significantly in some of America's hardest testing grounds: the Cascades, Yosemite's big walls, splitter cracks in Canyonlands, and highballs in Bishop. The similarity between all these experiences is that he was climbing someone else's routes. This new experience in route development will lead Logan to the next level in his climbing career and open the door for him to take his skills into the greater ranges.
Chelsea Gelbart: Mill Valley, CA: $600
Chelsea intends to travel to the Graian Alps of Europe to summit Mt. Blanc via the L'aiguille du Grouter route. Chelsea has only been climbing seriously for one year. This trip will require all of the skills she has accumulated sport climbing in the Owen's River Gorge, trad climbing in the granite of Tahoe, and mountaineering in and around Mt. Shasta. Mt. Blanc will be her first 15,000' peak.
Allyson Gunsallus: Pacifica, CA: $600
Allyson dreams of climbing long, technical routes in South America. In December, she will head to Southern Patagonia to attempt Aguja Guillamet, a tower in the Chalten massif. She has been building her skillset in Yosemite sending routes on Washington Column and El Capitan. To help prepare for Patagonia, she will continue to train in a more alpine setting with objectives in the Eastern Sierra, Mt. Baker, Mt. Shasta, and Rainier. This dream trip to the Fitz Roy will push her into new, unknown terrain, and open up a new world of technically and logistically difficult alpine climbing.
Lars Hedin: Santa Barbara, CA: $350
Lars has been dreaming of his personal, ultimate test piece: climbing The Nose and the Salathe Wall on Yosemite Valley's El Capitan. For the past two years he has been training and building his skills on the South Face and the Prow of Washington Column, the West Face of Leaning Tower; on dozens of long free climbs; on hundreds of laps on the local Santa Barbara bolt ladder. During this learning period he has overcome numerous challenges on the wall, endured two broken ankles, and suffered through numerous dawn patrols. He finally feels ready to apply these skills to the Captain, and ultimately, to longer, more difficult routes in the future.
Eric Hengesbaugh: La Mesa, CA: $300
Eric will travel to the Eastern Sierra and fully plunge himself into the world of alpine climbing. The Palisades beckon him with longer and harder routes than anything he has previously experienced. Further, he will spend a month attempting the classic and hidden first ascents of Sierra pioneer Don Jensen, a late family relative, and will attempt to relive one of Don's last summers in the Sierra. Eric's dream combines pushing his climbing skills into new terrain, uncovering some lost Sierra climbing history, and retracing a family member's legacy.
Diana Hitchen: Tahoe Vista, CA: $200
Diana seeks to improve her climbing technique, focusing on sandstone splitter cracks in the desert of Southern Utah, by attempting three challenging towers on the Bridger Jack Mesa: Thunderbolts on Easter Island, the East Face of Sunflower Tower, and Wild West Show on Hummingbird Spire. These routes are technically harder than any climb she has attempted before and, coming from a mainly granite-based climbing career, these climbs represent stepping further into uncharted sandstone territory.
Nathan Kalish: Tempe, AZ: $400
Nathan, a desert rat from Tempe, Arizona, seeks experience in the alpine environment. He will travel to the Bugaboos to attempt the Beckey-Chouinard route on South Howser Tower with smaller, secondary objectives filling out his time in the mountains. He ultimately dreams of climbing in Patagonia, and experiencing glacial travel and more committing and remote routes in the Bugaboos will act as a logical stepping stone in his personal progression.
Paul Koubek: Yosemite, CA: $650
In 2014, Paul was awarded a Live Your Dream grant to develop his ice-climbing skills in Ouray with the specific objective of climbing WI4 routes and a greater, ultimate objective of traveling to the Ruth Gorge in Alaska to apply his rock and new ice skills in a serious alpine testing ground. Since then Paul has furthered his ice climbing skills, completing WI5+ routes. He will combine these experiences with those he has learned as a longtime Yosemite Search and Rescue team member to head to Alaska's Mooses Tooth on the Ruth Gorge to attempt Shaken Not Stirred and Ham and Eggs.
Kate McHugh: Tucson, AZ: $400
Kate's objective is to learn aid and big-wall climbing techniques with the goal of progressing to a higher technical level of climbing in an alpine environment. As an Outward Bound mountaineering instructor with 14 years of climbing experience, she has progressed from sport climbing to trad climbing easily enough, but lacks the complex problem solving and skill set required for big-wall aid climbing. She will travel to Zion National Park to attempt Space Shot (IV 5.7 C2), Moonlight Buttress (5.8 C2), Touchstone Wall (V 5.9 C2), Tricks of the Trade (VI 5.10+ C2+), and Desert Shield (V 5.11a C3). Each of these routes will represent her learning progress as she works from 5.8 C2 to 5.11a C3.
Hari Mix: Palo Alto, CA: $850
Hari will travel to the Karakoram to attempt Broad Peak (8047m), Gasherbrum I (8068m), and Gasherbrum II (8035m) climbing as a team of two with partner Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, all without supplemental oxygen. This expedition represents the nexus of high alpine skills and altitude experience he has developed through five expeditions to the Himalaya, Tien Shan, and Pamier. This trip provides Hari the opportunity to assemble his skill set and apply it to technical routes like the Japanese Couloir on Gasherbrum I in alpine style.
Alix Morris: Irvine, CA: $350
Alix's dream and objective is to travel to the Bugaboos and send All Along the Watchtower on North Howser Tower in a single day push. She has been building and developing her climbing and alpine skills across varied terrain in locations such as Yosemite Valley, Red Rocks, the High Sierra, and Squamish. All Along the Watchtower will test her abilities to climb light and fact and as free as possible on remote big walls in the mountains. With this trip she hopes to gain more experience on mountainous terrain and take those skills into the greater ranges of Patagonia in the winter of 2015/16, and in the future, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Greenland, and Baffin.
Tomasz Podkanowicz: Sunnyvale, CA: $300
Tomasz has long dreamed of climbing all of California's 14,000' peaks. To this end, he has completed all but the toughest section: the Thunderbolt to Mt. Sill traverse in the Palisades of the Sierra Nevada. He has worked hard to get comfortable on exposed rock, developing trad leading skills to 5.10+ with some ascents of various multi-pitch routes in Yosemite Valley. After completing the California 14ers, Tomasz seeks the next level in his personal climbing progression: routes in the North Cascades and Teton range.
Bernadette Regan: Joshua Tree, CA: $600
Bernadette will travel to the Waddington Range of British Columbia, Canada to complete the first free ascent of the West Buttress of the Golden Klattasine. She intends to climb alpine-style and will install no fixed hardware. With little available route information, the Klattasine represents the most remote and committing objective Bernadette has yet faced. It will require a culmination of skills in both technical rock climbing and alpine adventuring and sits as the next progressive step in her personal climbing career.
Alex Rosenthal: Berkeley, CA: $700
Alex will fly to Argentina's Andes mountain range to attempt the challenging Polish Direct route on Aconcagua. This route represents a climbing progression which began with Sierra 14ers, enveloped multiple routes on Mt. Shasta, saw him to the top of Rainier, to summits in the German Alps, and finally to Denali. Expanding on this path, the Polish Direct route on Aconcagua will challenge his abilities and help him identify weaknesses in his skill set. He looks to ultimately tackle major objectives in the greater ranges.
Jordan Shackelford: Oakland, CA: $300
Primarily a boulderer, but harboring alpine ambitions, Jordan dreams of climbing the Evolution Traverse in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in one-push, alpine-style, as fast as possible. While Jordan has developed strong climbing skills and sent V10 boulder problems, he has little experience on alpine rock—save a few ascents around Tuolumne and elsewhere. He seeks to test himself on what Peter Croft has called, “way harder than climbing El Cap in a day," and also, “the best ridge traverse I have ever done." Long, serious, and requiring both skills and speed, the Evolution Traverse is a perfect aspiration for a strong boulderer looking to move into serious alpine environments.
Sarah Steele: Oakland, CA: $450
Sarah Steele will attempt the Swiss Route on Les Courtes in Chamonix in the Fall of 2015. This route represents a significant step up in her climbing progression, being both more sustained in difficulty and longer than any climb she has previously attempted. She will be applying her significant experience in ice climbing, rock climbing, and bouldering to accomplish her goal. Ultimately she hopes this trip will open her eyes to greater possibilities mountaineering in the greater ranges.
Brandon Thau: Santa Maria, CA: $850
Brandon will travel to the Gangotri region of the Northern Indian Himalaya with the goal of establishing a free ascent of the West Pillar of Bhagirathi III. His new free route will roughly follow the Catalan line called Impossible Star. This climb on Bhagirathi III features a 3,000' granite wall capped by a 600' alpine ice climb to the summit. While Brandon has extensive climbing experience—he's tacked over 24 grade V/VI ascents in Yosemite (13 of them in a single push)—this will be his first expedition to the greater ranges of the Himalaya and his first time climbing at 6,000m+. This climb will build off his past experiences of big-wall climbing and open the doors to further expeditions and route development in remote, committing locations.
Bob Thompson: Santa Monica, CA: $500
Bob will head to Bugaboos Provincial Park in British Columbia to attempt to climb the Becky-Chouinard route on South Howser Tower and the Northeast Ridge on Bugaboo Spire. Bob has been working hard the past few seasons to become comfortable leading trad routes and has developed his skills to the 5.9/5.10 level. This trip will test his leading abilities in a more committing alpine environment.
Keegan Wilson: Reno, NV: $300
Keegan and partner Ben Brunsvold will travel to Bugaboo Provincial Park in British Columbia, Canada to attempt the Becky-Choiunard, the Sunshine Crack, and the North Summit Direct on Snowpatch Spire. They are also seeking to explore more remote peaks such as Wallack Peak, Mount Kelvin, and Howser Peak. This trip will allow Keegan to gain more experience in glacial approaches while attempting long, committing alpine rock routes. In 2016 he is planning a trip to Baffin Island with an attempt on Mt. Asgard and a possible FA attempt on Mt. Northumbria. This trip is a stepping-stone to his aspiration to climbing alpine rock north of the Arctic Circle and in the Karakoram.
Toby Butterfield and Katie Mills: Portland, OR: $300 (each)
Toby and Katie are off to Colorado to climb the Casual Route on the Diamond in Rocky Mountain National Park. Originally from Tennessee, Katie has been eyeballing the high peaks of Colorado early on and will be joining her partner Toby back in his home state.
Jenn Carter, Carolyn Graham, Leigh Ann Wolf and Meredith Trainor: Seattle, WA: $500 (each)
The Denali Girls have been working and training hard in the Cascades for the highest peak in North America. Individually accomplished in mountaineering, this strong team has been enjoying working together and coordinating group expedition roles on this all-woman team.
Emilie Cortes: Bend, OR: $500
Changing her professional course midstream, Emilie launched a guiding company that helped others achieve their dreams. Now it's her turn to get on a route she's been wanting to do for the last 10 years: climbing Mt. Blanc from the Chamonix side.
Matthew Farrell: Bend, OR: $650
Matt has been climbing in Yosemite Valley for over a decade and has contributed a lot of volunteer work to his home crag of Smith Rock. His goal is to link the whole Cathedral Spires ridgeline starting on the Lower Spire and finishing by rapping down the Regular Route of the Upper Spire.
Nicolas Frazee: Bozeman, MT: $1,000
During a 2014 ice-climbing trip into the Rolwaling Valley of the Nepalese Himalaya, Nicolas spotted the south face of Chobutse (6,686m). After recent trips to Canada and Alaska he's ready for a first ascent attempt in the Himalaya.
Spencer Hennigan: Victor, ID: $500
Spencer and his fiancée have traveled the world as educators and guides, and it's time to tie the knot. They've chosen to do the ceremony on the Grand Teton with their mutual best friend as the officiant, and we're happy to be a part of it! Save us some cake you guys.
Ezekial Hocking: Oak Harbor, WA: $300
Ezekial is turning 16 this year and is focusing his youth and energy towards the mountains with an ascent of the classic West Ridge of Forbidden Peak in Washington's North Cascades.
Rachel James: Missoula, MT: $500
Rachel returns to the Avellano Valley of Chile with her partner Natalie with “more gear (namely pitons and a hammer), more mango pisco (self-explanatory) and more time (one month)" and will be producing an 80's rock video to document their new routes on the granite walls. Venga chicas!
Jon Jantz: Spokane, WA: $1,000
Jon has recently returned to the mountains in earnest and is picking up where he left off. He dreamed of a big traverse and will live his dream of travelling through vast icy stretches of the North Country by starting from the Pacific Ocean, and ending up on the Alaska Highway in the Canada's Yukon Territory via Wrangell St. Elias National Park.
Meghan Kahnle: Boise, ID: $350
Meghan is an artist who wants to challenge herself by leading, from ground to summit, the West Face Variation on the Monkey Face at Smith Rock State Park in Oregon. During her trip she'll be creating an art piece and social media campaign that will help fundraise for the park.
Jason Luthy: Sandpoint, ID: $750
As an educator Jason spends much time teaching students outdoor skills. He wants to again experience the challenge of a personal expedition and has carved out a couple of weeks to chase down the standard route on the Lotus Flower Tower in the Northwest Territories.
Johan Ugander, Stephanie Safdi: Seattle, WA: $400 (each)
Robley Williams was a member of the 1964 Arrigetch expedition, one of Johan's teachers in college, and his stories inspired this effort for this husband-and-wife team to explore and establish new lines on the Arthur Emmons massif in Northern Alaska. Their main objective will be a pure rock FA of Arthur Emmons' West Ridge.
Barbara Schwarz: Kalispell, MT: $750
Barbara's long-term goal is to successfully climb the 32 peaks described in “Classic Climbs of the Cordillera Blanca." This year Barbara is gunning for Huamashraju (5,434m), Alpamayo (5,947m), and Ranrapalca (6,162m).
Audrey Sniezek: Seattle, WA: $800
Audrey has been knocking on the door of the highest-level sport climbs, while at the same time holding a demanding, full-time career. Life changes have introduced a period where she can dedicate herself to climbing full time, and dreams of gaining the knowledge only a world-renowned trainer in Europe can provide.
Mimi Stone: Seattle, WA: $800
In 1975 Mimi was the youngest female to climb Denali at the age of 16 (via the Muldrow Glacier). She was diagnosed with cancer last year and is charging ahead with an expedition back to Denali with her family.
Jaren Watson: Rexburg, ID: $400
Jaren is a talented rock climber, redpointing up to 5.12a, but has a fear of heights and routes with significant exposure scare him. Long routes in Red Rocks, Nevada will push him to get over this fear, and we're happy to help him climb Epinephrine and Crimson Chrysalis.
Sol Wertkin: Leavenworth, WA: $750
Sol is a fixture in the small climbing community in Leavenworth and has given much of his time volunteering as well as raising his family. Sixteen years of high-level Cascade alpinism culminates in his objective of doing the second free ascent of the Walsh–Levigne variation (VI 5.12- R) to Spicy Red Beans and Rice, on the West Face of North Howser Tower in Canada's Bugaboos.
Jonathan Byers: Louisville, CO: $1,000
Jonathan will be attempting new routes on either Cerro Bifida or Punta Filip in the Cirque de los Altares of southern Patagonia. The team will kite ski down the ice cap and establish base camp for 2–3 weeks in an effort to give them the best opportunity to achieve this goal.
Alton Richardson: Boulder, CO: $1,000
As a Boy Scout, Alton would visit the Hell's Kitchen Valley in California and eventually would learn to climb there. Now, years later, Alton is focused on establishing first ascents and also documenting climbing through many forms of media. Alton's objective is to spend two weeks in the Hell's Kitchen Valley establishing traditional, sport, and bouldering first ascents to document these climbs for the local community.
Jessica Meiris: Colorado Springs, CO: $800
Jessica is the first woman to have completed a one-day, single push rope solo of El Capitan via the Nose. Her success on El Cap was large in part due to her extensive experience on that particular chunk of stone. Now, she'd like to apply her rope-soloing skills to Half Dome and be the first woman to rope solo this formation in a single day.
Micah Howard: Albuquerque, NM: $650
After first seeing Denali over 14 years ago, Micah knew that he one day had to return to climb the mountain. As time passed Micah became competent at all the skills necessary to have a real attempt on the Cassin Ridge of Denali. Even more inspiring is that Micah juggles a demanding job and 20-month-old triplets and still finds time to pursue his dreams.
Owen Witesman: Springville, UT: $600
Owen will be attempting to repeat routes in the Teton Range put up by his grandfather, Don Decker, one of the original climbing rangers. Unfortunately, Don was killed in a fall in the Tetons in 1982, but has left a legacy of climbing. Owen will be the first of his family to attempt any of Don's classic routes. In a one-week window, Owen will attempt the NNW Ridge of Buck Mountain (III 5.7), the NW Ridge of Teewinot, (III 5.4), and the Direct South Buttress of Mt. Moran (IV 5.9 A1).
Madeline Pickering: Boulder, CO: $600
Placing her first cam this past November, Madeline has been bitten by the traditional climbing bug. She'll spend the next nine months on the road honing those trad skills and culminating in a classic tower tour of Utah. After spending the first year of climbing in a Boston gym, Madeline is ready to live her dream of climbing in wild places in the Western U.S. The next step for her is to lead every pitch on Kor Ingalls, Castleton Tower; Off Balanced Rock, Arches; West Crack of Owl Rock; Entry Fee, Lizard Rock; Stolen Chimney on Ancient Art; and Otto's Route in Colorado National Monument.
Emily Hendrick: Boulder, CO: $500
Emily will attempt Nevado Huantsan, a 6,000-meter peak in Peru. This rarely climbed peak will be a stepping-stone for Emily in both elevation and expedition style climbing. After summiting all of Colorado's 14ers, Orizaba, and Cotopaxi, Emily feels that Nevado Huantsan is the natural progression for her in order to continue to reach her goals.
Hannah Trim: Leadville, CO: $500
Hannah and her team will attempt a north to south traverse of the Picket Range in the North Cascades. Their plan is to approach Whatcom Peak via Little Beaver Creek and traverse south and east across the rest of the Pickets, finishing the traverse on Elephant Butte and then descend Seattle Ridge to Highway 20. Having plenty of alpine experience in the Rockies, Hannah feels that her lack of glacier experience is something that she needs in order to push into bigger objectives.
Jordan Horner: Columbia, MO: $1,000
Last year Jordan spent 21 days with his family in the backcountry of the High Sierra. That trip hatched a plan to do a 30-day backpacking, alpine route tour de force. He'll attempt to climb 30+ classic and/or new alpine routes along his way from Whitney Portal to Twin Lakes. Along the way he will attempt Mt. Whitney, Mt. Russell, Mt. Chamberlain, Charlotte Dome, the full Palisade Traverse, the Evolution Traverse, and the Incredible Hulk.
Tyler Twoerk: Elk Mound, WI: $500
Tyler will spend 14 days developing sport routes at a new privately developed area in the Columbian Andes, Volcán Cerro Bravo. Tyler wishes to broaden his scope of establishing new routes by learning the art of bolting. This will be the next step in the progression of his climbing by giving him the knowledge and skills to find, clean, and safely bolt new routes. He'll attempt to establish up to four new routes with the supervision of experienced individuals.
Greg Fischer: Crystal Lake, IL: $500
In 2012, Greg and his partner, Rob, were caught in a tragic rockslide while mountaineering in Colorado. This accident resulted in the death of Greg's climbing partner and friend. Since then, Greg has taken a sabbatical from climbing and will now attempt to reach the summit of Aconcagua, which was a major goal for Rob and himself before the accident.
Wendy Ong: Cambridge, MA: $1,000
Wendy seeks to climb the Nose, the most famous line on Yosemite's El Capitan, in a day. In 2010 Wendy was dropped and fell 140 feet, and sustained serious spinal cord and pelvic injury, as well as permanent physical disability. Her goal of NIAD is based in her desire to train hard, make the most of the gifts and abilities she still has, and embark on this adventure to prove to herself and others just how resilient the human mind and body can be.
Craig Muderlak: Providence, RI: $1,000
Craig seeks to complete the Waddington Range high peaks traverse/enchainment, which links Mt. Waddington, Combatant, Tiedemann, Asperity, and the Serra 1–5 summits in British Columbia. This objective has been a dream of Craig's since spending a month in the Waddington Range working a NOLS mountaineering course six years ago. Since that time, he has sought to bring together the right team to make it happen, which has finally coalesced, starting in a dusty climbing gym in Providence and expanding to icy crags in New Hampshire and alpine walls in Colorado. The sheer size and commitment of this objective will demand the team's cumulative and extensive rock, ice, alpine, and expeditionary experience. Taking on this enchainment will integrate their experience in big, remote terrain and take the climbers to the next level, both personally and as a partnership.
Ben Teasdale: Burlington, VT: $1,000
Ben will travel to Kyrgyzstan in order to climb in Ala Archa National Park, as well as contribute to the national park's land use and development plan. The objective of the trip is to map out climbing routes in the park and assist the Kyrgyzstan government in its holistic plan for sustainable development and long-term use.
Ryan Wichelns: Saratoga Springs, NY: $1,000
Ryan will travel to Denali National Park in Alaska, with partner Gabe Messercola, with the ultimate goal of climbing the desolate, airy traverse from Mt. Silverthrone (13,220'), through the Tripyramid Peaks, to Mt. Brooks (11,940'). In the last few years, the partners have progressed rapidly as climbers from hiking to rock- and ice-climbing to winter mountaineering in the Northeastern ranges of the Adirondacks and Whites. Having climbed Mt. Rainier with a guide two years ago, the two are now ready to put it all to the test and “go somewhere." This will be the first simultaneous test of all their proven skills: expedition planning, long-term backcountry travel and camping, technical mountaineering, route finding, and more. They hope it will be the launching pad to bigger expeditions around the world.
Enock Glidden: Albany, ME: $1,000
Enock plans to sit climb (ascent by an individual who does not have full use of their lower extremities) El Capitan in Yosemite with the support of friends he has met through Paradox Sports. His mobility is limited due to Spina Bifida, and this climb will undoubtedly push him and test his abilities, both physically and mentally. This objective is also a step towards his ultimate goal of climbing Mt. Rainier to honor a passed friend who was a rescue ranger on the mountain. This climb will allow Enock to hone his skills for planning and managing large objectives, and if he can persevere on El Cap, he will have the confidence to then dream even bigger and tackle the logistics required to climb Rainier.
Brian O'Leary: Orono, ME: $500
Brian seeks to road trip from his home in Maine to the crack climbing mecca of Indian Creek, Utah, with the goals of honing new skills on the immaculate sandstone of Utah's deserts. His team is made up of a group of outdoor educators who, in addition to the progression in their crack climbing skills, will gain improved understanding and competency on entirely new terrain.
Lucas Weiss: Pike, NH: $400
Lucas plans to obtain his AIARE Level 1 certification and then lead Pinnacle Gully on Mt. Washington. He has many years' experience hiking, mountaineering, and rock climbing— but ice, from the first moment he swung an axe in February of 2014, has eclipsed all other activities and become his absolute passion. Pinnacle Gully will be both a culmination of the first phase of his development as an ice climber and also a key step in his qualification as an adventure teacher at his school, where he seeks to lead high school students on winter climbs.
Kelly Prime: Brooklyn, NY: $600
Kelly seeks to climb the eight-pitch, 600' route Amptrax, a fully bolted 5.8+ route in El Chorro, Spain. Through this project she intends to solidify her confidence leading multi-pitch sport routes, while pushing both her love for travel and climbing into new frontiers. She hopes that Amptrax, and this trip to Spain, will be the next step into a world of long routes and new climbing destinations.
Garrett Drayna: Watertown, MA: $500
Garrett will travel to Chamonix, France to climb various technical alpine routes of increasing difficulty, culminating in an ascent of the Frendo Spur on the Aiguille du Midi. With moderate rock (5.7), difficult alpine ice (AI4), and a mandatory bivy, this route represents the next step in his technical alpine climbing career and a dream of eight years. With climbing on the back burner during graduate school, these dreams were put on hold. Now, Garrett has spent the last year reintegrating climbing into his life in New England on moderate ice and rock, and is the perfect next step in his revitalized passion for climbing.
Joanna Sweetgall: Waltham, MA: $500
Joanna will be leaving her job in June for the sake of completing a long-held dream of driving cross-country to explore the climbing destinations of the U.S. and Canada. Her climbing goal on the trip is to breakthrough from her 5.9 comfort zone and evolve into a solid 5.11 trad leader. Her ultimate climbing dream is to complete the route Positive Vibrations on the Incredible Hulk—and a trip honing her traditional climbing skills will bring her one step closer to realizing this dream.
Alan Goldbetter: Winchester, VA: $500
Alan will be attempting a free climb of the Atlantis route on the north face of Stora Blåmannen. This route ascends a 1,000-meter granite wall in northern Norway. Over the last decade, Alan has worked diligently to acquire the skills and fitness necessary to competently travel in the alpine environment, mostly in Scotland.
Andrew Blease: Damascus, VA: $950
Andrew will be traveling to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado to climb several alpine routes including Keyhole Ridge on Longs Peak, and the Solitude/Shelf Lake Traverse. This trip is a significant departure from Andrew's previous climbing experience because of the potential conditions, approach and retreat difficulties, and multi-day commitment.
Brandon Phillips: Nauvoo, AL: $325
Brandon will travel to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming to climb the complete Exum Ridge and then the Grand Traverse. Even though he lives in Alabama, Brandon's heart truly lies in the big mountains. With experience in smaller alpine rock, ice, and snow routes in Alaska, the Grand Traverse—a multi-day route that demands efficiency and endurance—is a well-suited continuing point for Brandon.
Cathy Cramer: Cary, NC: $1,800
Cathy's dream trip is to travel to the Boulder area of Colorado to climb difficult (5.10–5.12) sport, some easier level trad routes in Eldorado and Boulder Canyons, and her first alpine route at Rocky Mountain National Park. At age 15, Cathy is strong and well practiced outside, and ready for an opportunity to apply her skills out West. Additionally, as a Kidder Aspiring Alpinist Award recipient, Cathy received additional funding to take an advanced course in self-rescue and anchor building in preparation for her trip.
Corey Winstead: Jonas Ridge, NC: $275
Corey will climb the Grand Traverse in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. An experienced climber, outdoor-experience professional, and one step away from being an AMGA Rock Instructor, Corey's objective will not only further his experience and skill set, but also will fulfill his longtime dream.
David Hurley: Raleigh, NC: $1,220
David will travel to the Bugaboos in Canada to climb classic alpine routes—both within his limits and one step out of his comfort zone. After seeing a picture of the Bugaboos during his sophomore year of college, climbing them instantly became a long-term objective for David. The glacial approaches and long moderate lines of the Bugs will build upon his alpine experience, train him for the environment of future objectives, and serve as his introduction to big alpine climbing. Additionally, as a Kidder Aspiring Alpinist Award recipient, David received additional funding to take a course in Glacier Skills and Crevasse Rescue in preparation for his trip.
Gary Owen and Blake Salmony: Lexington, KY: $300 (each)
Gary and Blake dream of climbing more than 5,000 feet of multi-pitch rock over a weeklong trip to Red Rocks, NV. Some routes include Inti Watana, Epinephrine, and Levitation 29. The climbs of Red Rock will provide the perfect training ground for Gary and Blake to hone their systems, increase efficiency, and advance towards future ascents.
Joe DeGaetano: Fayetteville, WV: $400
Joe will travel to Wyoming to climb in Vedauwoo, Freemont Canyon, the Wind River Range, and Grand Teton National Park. The primary focus is to explore some of Wyoming's amazing climbing areas and become a better crack climber in the process.
Kayah Gaydish: Asheville, NC: $1,000
Kayah will travel to Indian Creek to hone her crack climbing skills. Having visited Moab and Indian Creek 18 years ago, and with the constraints of raising two children, this long awaited return trip is a huge dream for Kayah and will build upon her splitter crack skills.
Naz Ahmed: Herndon, VA: $900
Naz will climb the West Buttress of Denali. Attempting the West Buttress of Denali is a culmination of her skills and progression in her experience: Denali will be Ahmed's highest summit, and climbing it expedition style will be the longest she has spent in remote wilderness.
Rick DeJarnette: North Chesterfield, VA: $850
Rick will travel to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado to climb the Casual Route on the Diamond on Longs Peak. After being shut down on the route when he was 22, with his father, Rick has held the Casual Route in his “climbing imagination" for nearly 20 years. Rick now has the knowledge, experience, and sheer strength and stamina to come back and tackle his objective.
Sharon Stolberg: Cleveland, TN: $1,000
Sharon will travel to the Gunks next fall to climb challenging routes with Paradox Sports, a non-profit adaptive sports organization. Confined to a wheelchair at age 7, due to severe polyarticular Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sharon fought her way out it by age 18, and has remained active ever since. Even though she has limited mobility in her shoulders and wrists, Sharon spends every ounce of her free time outdoors, and this trip will be her first multi-pitch trip and move her along in her climbing progression.
April 30, 2015, Golden, CO—The American Alpine Club (AAC) is proud to announce the recipients of the 2015 Live Your Dream grant, powered by The North Face. This year we were able to fund 84 dream projects by individuals looking to push their limits and realize their climbing ambitions.