2016 Live Your Dream Grant Recipients Announced

May 19, 2016, Golden, CO—The American Alpine Club and The North Face are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2016 Live Your Dream grant. In total, $20,000 was awarded to 58 recipients from across the country. 

The Live Your Dream grant, powered by The North Face, is designed to help every-day adventurers take their abilities to the next level. It is about personal progression—be it transitioning out of the gym or establishing a first ascent in the greater ranges. This grant supports and promotes unforgettable experiences for climbers who dream big, strive to grow as climbers, and seek to inspire others. 

Founded in 2012, the Live Your Dream grant is funded with support by The North Face, the AAC's Craggin' Classic Series, and local fundraising efforts. It is a community developed and locally administered grant with the purpose of funding individuals in pursuit of their progressive climbing dreams. Grant applications are read, evaluated, and awarded by six Regional Selection Committees comprised of local community members, volunteers, and athletes.



Samuel Bedell: Bend, OR: $400

Samuel, along with partner Nick Mestre, will attempt to climb the Southeast Ridge of Asperity in the Waddington Range, British Columbia, Canada. This route features 1600m of technical climbing with difficulties up to 5.10 A1 WI3. Samuel and Nick are looking to test themselves on this long climb, involving various styles, complex problem solving, and efficient movement in a remote setting.

Cat Coe: Missoula, MT: $200

Cat and partner will attempt multiple objectives throughout the Cascades, including Serpentine Crack and Freedom Rider on Liberty Bell, the East Face of Lexington Tower, and Infinite Bliss on Mt. Garfield, as well as The Grand Wall (5.11a, A0), Krimo Gold, Birds of Prey, and other multipitch routes at the 5.10-5.11 grades in Squamish.

Lawrence Davis: Roseburg, OR: $200 Mike Taormina: Eugene, OR: $200

Lawrence and Mike plan to travel to the Arrigetch Peaks, a remote group of granite spires within Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska. The stunning area is split by a two-mile ridgeline comprised of nine major summits, from Slot Tower southwest to Badile. During the month of July, 2016, they will attempt an alpine-style traverse of this sweeping knife-edge ridge and its peaks.

Nicole Gaines, Troutdale, OR: $200

Nicole and her husband Luke will spend ten days in July, 2016 exploring the Southern Picket Range. For years, the Pickets have been a place they talked of going “someday", "when we are good enough climbers." That someday is now, and their objectives include the MacMillen Spires, the East Towers, Inspiration, the Pyramid, Mt. Degenhardt, Mt. Terror, & the Chopping Block.

Mary Gianotti, Juneau, AK: $400

Mary’s climbing objectives include an unnamed and unclimbed peak on the remote Juneau Icefield in Alaska, while ski traversing 137.53 miles across the icefield with an 5-person team in a light and fast mountaineering style.

Nate Goodwin, Bozeman, MT: $400

Nate plans to make a 3 week trip into the Ruth Gorge and Tokositna glacier this Spring. His objectives include the SW ridge of Peak 11,300, Shaken Not Stirred on The Mooses Tooth, and the Harvard route on Mt Huntington.

Aaron Hanson, Sandpoint, ID: $200

Aaron’s grant will be used to finish, and possibly free, an aid route attempted by Karl Dietrich and partner up a steep, unclimbed portion of Wall Tower in the Leaning Towers area, Southeastern British Columbia.

Emily E Johnston, Leavenworth, WA: $200

In 8 consecutive days this July, Emily and Melissa Sher plan to complete what they call "The Columbia Trifecta": climbing Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Helens, riding our bicycles, without a support team, from one objective to the next.

Tiffany Larsen, Bend, OR: $200 Lauren Mork, Bend, OR: $200

Tiffany Larsen and Lauren Mork, will travel to Refugio Frey in Patagonia this coming winter. They plan to attept Imagínate (5.10/6a trad, 5 pitches), January 2017. Imagínate is at the upper-limit of their climbing ability, and through it, they will hone skills in multi-pitch traditional climbing.

Kimberley Palka, Seattle, WA: $200

Kimberley’s dream project is a tour of wall climbs. She will gain experience on Zion’s easier walls in a couple overnight attempts and a single day attempt, then relocate to the Fisher Towers for a one day ascent of the Titan.

Greg Sievers, Bozeman, MT: $200

Greg, along with his partners, are headed for Mount Robson in the Canadian Rockies to climb the Kane Face regular route. All four of their team have had Mt. Robson on their bucket list for over twenty years.

Chris Simmons, Seattle, WA: $300

Chris and his partner will spend two weeks exploring the WWI history and climbing in the Marmolada and Sella Mountains of Alta Adige/Sud Tirol, Italy. Their ultimate route goals include the Vinatzer-Castiglioni Route on the South Face of the Marmolada (29 pitches, 5.10b) and the Fedele or the Dibona Routes on the NW Face of Sass Pordoi (both 24 pitches, 5.6).

Kelly Thomas, Portland, OR: $200

Kelley and partner are set on climbing the CMC route on Mt Moran. This is a 5 pitch trad route on Mt Moran (3,842 m) in the Tetons, Wyoming. This is the most climbed route on Mt Moran, however it still sees little traffic.

Szu-ting Yi, Redmond, WA: $200

Szu-ting plans to make the First Free Ascent of Orion's Reflection in the Cathedral Cirque area of the Wind River Range, WY.



Amy Bannon: Prescott, AZ: $500

Amy’s objective is to embark on an entirely self-supported climbing trip through the beautiful northern highlands of Scotland. Once landed in Glasgow, she and her climbing partner will travel by bicycle to the northern coast where they will attempt four of the most beautiful and iconic sea stacks.

Nicholas Bourdon: San Diego, CA: $450

Frader Pisafe (aka Salvaterra) is a 1500' tall 5.10+ in Patagonia involving a lot of crack climbing. Nicholas will be driving his motorcycle from Alaska to Argentina and is planning on climbing at least 1 route in each state (US), province (Canada), and country that he passes through, culminating in Frader Pisafe. At a minimum, he will climb 29 different routes.

Bradford Buter: Los Angeles, CA: $400

Bradford seeks out alpine climbing in the Ruth Gorge area of Denali NP, with the ultimate objective being the Harvard Route on Mt. Huntington.

John Greer: Modesto, CA: $400

The objective of John’s trip is to successfully climb a new line on Atlantis Wall in the Sonora Pass area of California. This wall is located on Broad Dome and climbs one thousand feet out of Donnell reservoir. Currently, there are only a few existing routes on the wall.

Tad McCrea: Larkspur, CA: $500

Tad holds his dream as the magnificent North Ridge of Monte San Valentine, off the northern icecap of Chilean Patagonia. San Valentine is the highest point in Patagonia, and the mighty unclimbed northern aspect sports a daunting 8,000ft of steep technical terrain. Tad plans to carry up-and-over the mountain and packraft out the Valle Exploradores from the western edge of the icecap.

Vitaliy Musiyenko: San Francisco, CA $400

Vitaliy’s plan is to climb the Fitz Roy via the striking North Pillar, also known as the Goretta Pillar. Since both of he and his partner like to explore rather than conquer, they hope to climb the peak via a less frequently attempted route - Mate Porro y Todo los Demas. It was completed to the summit recently, in 2011.

Bernadette Regan: Joshua Tree, CA: $500

Bernadette’s dream is to complete the first free ascent of the West Buttress of the Golden Klattasine in the Waddington Range of BC, Canada. She intends to climb alpine-style and install no additional hardware.

Buck Yedor: Oakland, CA: $450

Buck Yedor is planning on traveling to the Gran Sabana of southeastern Venezuela to attempt to put up a new big wall free climb on Acopan Tepui. Acopan Tepui is known for its steep, often times overhanging bullet hard sandstone walls. The featured sandstone lends itself to hard free climbing protected by traditional climbing gear.



Ben Ammon: Arvada, CO: $200

Ben Ammon will use his climbing and mountaineering experiences to take on the mountains in South America! His main aspiration is to send the French Direct route on Alpamayo and the Northeast face of Artesonraju. As he acclimatizes and trains for these mountains, he will tackle some of the more manageable peaks in Peru. His trip will culminate with these two proud ascents.

James Bachhuber: Denver, CO: $600

In the mountains of Japan, Shugendo monks, like alpinists, use cold, hunger, and feats of endurance to cultivate awareness. In January 2017, like the Shugendo monks, James and his team will also practice at a Shugendo temple.   They will spend seven days in a sacred valley beneath Mt. Kaikomagatake climbing remote ice routes including O-ren-dani right fork (1200m), Tanuki Suicide (WI5-, M4+, 120m) among others. This time will be a test of physical and mental fortitude while also weaving the subtle nuances of training the mind, body, and soul.  

Eleanor Barber: Aspen, CO: $250

Eleanor will be pushing her physical limits with a summit of Mount Rainier and a ski descent.   This ski mountaineering trip will take place this spring as she tackles one of the highest mountains in the lower 48 states. After summiting this 14,410 foot peak with her skis, she will the put them on to ski back down this big mountain.

Mario Davidson: Nederland, CO: $300

Andy Esparza, Mario Davidson, and Mark Touchstone are going to the Cochamo Valley in Chile to establish a new route on a big wall. They will spend this next year, training for and acquiring the confidence, strength, and technical skills needed for navigating this new terrain. An objective of this magnitude is pushing their personal limits which in turn pushes the limits of climbing in general and in-turn, opens new routes for future climbers.

Taylor Dickinson: South Jordan, UT: $450

As part of the School for International Expedition Training, Taylor will be joining the Ishinca Valley Expedition. For 21 days, Taylor will be training in self and partner rescue, professional development as guides, as well as glacial travel and effective alpine climbing. The course will culminate in attempts of four peaks, including Tocllaraju (~20,000') and Ranrapalca (~20,000'). Taylor’s new skills will undoubtedly provide him with new skills and safety techniques that will touch other’s lives and perpetuate safe climbing ethics and knowledge for tackling big objectives such as these.

Tom Forestieri: Longmont, CO: $250

Tom will be living his dream of climbing the Beckey-Chouinard route on the South Howser Tower in the Bugaboos. This alpine style classic is a coveted summit for almost any climber, which challenges everything from planning to fitness to technical rock climbing skills in order to achieve this goal.

John Kelley: Colorado Springs, CO: $250

John Kelley aspires to do a one-day link up of three classic Sedona Towers (Coyote Tower, Sedona Scenic Cruise, and The Mace) using mountain bikes as the sole means of transportation. This ultimate fitness challenge will involve John and his climbing partners to travel via bike between the peaks, over many miles of technical, mountain biking terrain, carrying all of their gear and provisions. They will leave their bikes to begin climbing routes to summit and link the three towers, climbing technical routes up to the grade of 5.10d! This challenge will put their endurance, power, and technical climbing skills to the test!

Mallory Lambert: Layton, UT: $300

Mallory and her climbing partner seek to travel to the Codrillera Blance in Peru. They aspire to climb the Original Route (5.10+ 2000') on La Esfinge (The Sphinx) in Valle Paron, an enormous granite formation in the Paron Valley. These climbing partners will share leads to summit this challenging wall. Mallory’s goal is not only to push her physical limits and technical skills, but also mentally push herself to take more responsibility in climbing and trust in her abilities as a lead climber. She will apply everything she knows about climbing to tackle this coveted objective!

Mark Pugliese: Salt Lake City, UT: $650

Mark and his climbing partner are traveling to the Rolwaling Valley of Nepal. Here they will attempt 2 first ascents in the Himalayas. One of the routes goes up the west face of Chugimago (6259m), while the other may go on either the south face or SE ridge of Kang Nachugo (6735m). Navigating in some of the biggest mountains in the world, and establishing new lines is a lofty aspiration for any climber, and opens routes for many climbers to come.

Marc Ripperger: Albequerque, NM: $700

Marc will be traveling to the Cordillera Blance in Peru to climb the Original Route on La Esfinge (The Sphinx) in Valle Paron. After first learning about this route about 8 years ago, La Esfinge has been a dream for Marc to travel to Peru to summit. This notoriously sandbagged route involves climbing about 20 pitches up to 5.11c. This large granite, feature tops out at 17,470 ft. with 3,000 ft. of climbing in a one day push!

Zachary Snavely: Lander, WY: $300

Zach’s adventure includes planning, training, and completing, his first international alpine climbing expedition! His objective includes traveling to Bugaboo Provincial Park in British Columbia to attempt the several classic alpine lines. He will be putting

Brian Sparks: Moab, UT: $300

Brian is doing a ski mountaineering ascent and decent of Mt. Rainier via the Fuhrer Finger Route from Paradise on June 2nd, cross the Nisqually Glacier and ascend the Wilson Glacier to camp at 9200m. This is something will challenge Brian and take his ski mountaineering to the next level.



Colten Moore: Marquette, MI: $300

Colten will take the cold weather suffering and ice climbing skills he has honed on the south shore of Lake Superior to the massive Lake Baikal in Siberian Russia. There he and his team will tour the frozen lake on fat bikes in search of new ice routes on Lake Baikal’s northwest shore.

Andrew Clift: Rapid City, SD: $250

Andrew and his partner are travelling to the Bugaboos to climb four classic routes: The West Ridge of Pigeon Spire (III 5.4), The Northeast Ridge of Bugaboo Spire (IV 5.8), The Beckey-Chouinard on South Howser Tower (IV 5.10), and The Sunshine Crack on Snowpatch Spire (IV 5.11). Andrew is looking forward to the opportunity to engage in the entire process of planning and completing a major trip of this nature. 

Jane Horth: Houston, TX: $250

Jane and her partner will also be travelling to the Bugaboos to attempt a pair of routes: Solitary Confinement on Prince Alpert Spire (III 5.11), and The Northeast Ridge of Bugaboo Spire (IV 5.8). Having climbed extensively on large objectives in the Desert Southwest and California, Jane is looking to take those skills to an alpine environment.

Sean Buehler: Carmel, IN: $200

Currently a Wilderness EMT, Sean is looking to take the next step in his dream of earning a degree in Wilderness Medicine. For him, that step involves a four-to-five day training ascent of the Cooper Spur on Mt. Hood (III), where he will learn and practice skills for navigating snowy peaks as well as receiving behavioral emergency training.

Lewis Billingsley: Jena, LA: $200

Lewis has a love for big, snowy and remote mountains. Since 2014 he has been acquiring the skills and knowledge required to take them on. The next step in his progression will take him to South America, where he will attempt the French Direct on Alpamayo (WI2).

Don Wargowsky: Cutler, OH: $200

Don and his teammates are heading to Nepal to complete unguided ascents of Island Peak and the Southwest Ridge of Ama Dablam without Sherpa support. This expedition will, in Don’s words, “…be the culmination of all the skills that I have built through climbing, trip leading, and traveling internationally [and] will be the highlight of my climbing career.”

Joshua Cronk: Novi, MI: $200

Josh and his brother have a long term goal of climbing El Cap. To that end they are planning on travelling to the Pacific Northwest, where they will attempt several multi-pitch routes in order to begin building the necessary experience. They in tend to visit the Goat Wall in Mazama, WA where they will attempt Prime Rib of Goat (III 5.9) and possibly Sisyphus (III 5.11a). From there they will head to Smith Rock in Oregon where they will attempt to summit the Monkey Face.

Clayton Ernst: Austin, TX: $200

Clayton and his partner are heading to Zion National Park, in Utah to attempt Touchstone (V 5.9 C2). For them this is a stepping stone to bigger walls and bigger mountains. They chose Zion, and specifically Touchstone, for both aesthetic and practical reasons. On their trip they will practice their aid and wall climbing skills in an amazing setting.

Erin Lynch: Ann Arbor, MI: $200

Erin has proven herself on long and difficult sport routes, but now the iconic beauty of Devil’s Tower and its El Matador (III 5.10d) have drawn her to expand her trad climbing skills. Erin will travel to Wyoming and attempt to climb this classic line.

Morgan Smith: College Station, TX: $200

Morgan and his partner plan to travel to El Potrero Chico in Nuevo Leon, Mexico. There, they intend on completing an extension to the classic Super Nova (III 5.11a). In the process they hope to make the first ascent of not just their extension but also the formation which it will ascend. In the process they hope to gain experience in hauling, extended wall-life, ground-up bolting, and the techniques and effort required to open a classic line.



Alissa Doherty: Boston, MA: $300

Alissa’s main objective is to climb Goldfinger in the Ruth Gorge of Alaska. She has been dreaming of Alaska since first seeing Bradford Washburn's incredible images of the Ruth Gorge. After a failed attempt last year due to poor weather conditions, Alissa is ready for another shot at this iconic climb.

Heather Hudson: Providence, RI: $400

Heather’s objective is to hike into the Deep Lake area of the Wind River Range, Wyoming, and climb the Southwest Arete of Lost Temple Spire. Her motivation? To shed the dependence her and her partner have had on their significant others and more experienced climbers to lead the way. They have decided it is time to put their skills to the test and lead themselves into the role of leader. They are ready and confident to take on this challenge head on, sans dudes. Good luck ladies!

Ethan Berman: Cambridge, MA: $250

Ethan’s main objective is to climb classic routes in the Bugaboos with his sister, Nina, hoping to establish a new alpine route in the region making it their first “sibling” first ascent. They have both been training incessantly through traditional climbing in both Red Rocks and Zion. They have established numerous ascents in the area and are hoping to break into a new realm together in the environment that they are both most connected to, alpine rock. Above all else, they are hoping in addition to becoming stronger climbers, they also develop a stronger bond between them as siblings.

Andrew Blease: Glen, NH: $400

As a previous winner of the LYD grant, Andrew was shut down on his trip to climb in RMNP by a late winter snowstorm. After a year of training hard in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Andrew is ready to give it another go in his dream of alpine climbing and ski mountaineering. This trip is one step in achieving his long term goals of exploring alpine climbs in areas like Chamonix, Alaska and South America.

Devin Farkas: Canton, NY: $1000

“If your climbing dreams don’t scare you, dream bigger.” This is the mantra of Devin Farkas who’s dream is to climb the Beckey-Chouinard Route, West buttress, South Howser Tower in Bugaboo Provincial Park, Alberta Canada. According to him this is the culmination of his path as a climber and hopes that it will act as a launching point for his future. After years of overcoming boundaries in his climbing career, Devin is confident that this objective will establish new horizons for him in the future.

Michael Posner: Plainville, CT: $450

Two years ago, Michael was diagnosed with stage 1 colon cancer, news that would cripple the majority of us. Michael decided to let it be a launching point to change his life for the better. While tackling summits in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the dream of climbing his first “fourteener” started to become more evident and achievable. That is why his objective is to tackle Grays Peak in Colorado, the highest peak in the Front Range. With this he strives to not only maintain his newly found healthy lifestyle, but also be a role model for positive change in others.

James Voorhis: Center Conway, NH: $500

James and his climbing partner Chris dream of summiting both Cerro Torre and Cerro Fitz Roy in their first season in Patagonia. Claiming to thrive when they dream big, they have proven nothing but just that in their time together. Since their first push up the West Face of the Leaning Tower to their epic four-day ascent on El Cap, they both have coached and supported each other down the road that they hope will propel their climbing skills, as well as their partnership into new terrain.



Brian Barwatt: Sylvia, NC: $600

Brian and his partner will attempt to climb Quitaraju via the North Face and Alpamayo via the French Direct route in the Cordillera Blanca of Peru.

Amanda Ellis: Wake Forest, NC: $400

Amanda’s goal is to travel to one of the world’s greatest alpine playgrounds to ascend the North East Ridge of Bugaboo Spire.

Josh Kraft: Chesapeake, VA: $400

Josh’s objective is to summit the Grand Teton in Wyoming, a climb he has long dreamt of doing, but was unable to pursue due to health problems until now.

Alex Marine: Washington, DC: $500

Alex will attempt to establish new free routes on the Cloud Peak massif and surrounding mountains in the Bighorns of Wyoming using traditional methods and gear. Alex will establish a base camp at the base of Cloud Peak and explore all aspects for ~10 days, focusing primarily on unclimbed or less climbed faces.

Kyle Sox: Columbia, SC: $600

Kyle and his partner Scott will attempt a first ascent traverse of the 11+ mile Wind River Crest from Indian Pass to Pedestal col. in a single, week-long push to link the highest, unbroken skyline in Wyoming.


About The American Alpine Club
The American Alpine Club is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose vision is a united community of competent climbers and healthy climbing landscapes. Together with our members, 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 Hueco Rock Ranch, New River Gorge Campground, and Grand Teton Climbers' Ranch as part of a larger lodging network for climbers; and annually gives $80,000+ toward climbing, conservation, and research grants that fund adventurers who travel the world. Learn about additional programs and become a member at americanalpineclub.org.