American Alpine Club and Access Fund Announce 2016 Anchor Replacement Fund Grant Awards

October 13, 2016, Golden, CO—The Access Fund and American Alpine Club are pleased to announce the 2016 Anchor Replacement Fund grant awards. Now in its second year, the Anchor Replacement Fund was launched to address the growing concerns of anchor failure, and the access issues that could result from these incidents. Across the United States, bolts installed in the 80s and 90s are aging, and there is an immediate need to address inadequate fixed anchors and increase support for the growing number of local organizations and national partners that are tackling this problem. We are pleased to have awarded $10,000 again this year, to support fifteen fixed anchor replacement projects across the country. This program is made possible by the generous support of Climb Tech, Petzl, and Trango. We are pleased to announce funding for the following worthy projects.

Arkansas Climbers Coalition
Arkansas Climbers Coalition (ARCC) was awarded funding for fixed anchor replacement at Sam’s Throne area, particularly The Outback and The West Main Bluff. The grant will augment their fixed anchor fund, and support the work of ARCC’s volunteer anchor replacement team. ARCC is a longtime Access Fund Affiliate and a grassroots climbing non-profit working to steward and protect Arkansas climbing.

Southwest Virginia Climbers Coalition
Southwest Virginia Climbers Coalition (SVCC) was awarded funding for fixed anchor replacement in Breaks Interstate Park, a state park located across the Virginia-Kentucky line. The park was officially opened to climbing earlier this year, and SVCC will upgrade anchors on dozens of historic, sandstone routes in Breaks. SVCC is an Access Fund Affiliate and volunteer-run climbing non-profit focused on stewardship and protection of southwest Virginia climbing areas.

Western Massachusetts Climbers Coalition
We are pleased to award funding to the Western Massachusetts Climbers Coalition (WMCC) to replace fixed anchors at Farley Ledges, Mormon Hollow, and the Sunbowl. WMCC will focus its work on bolts and top-anchors, using new long-lasting glue-in bolts. WMCC is a longstanding Access Fund Affiliate and local climbing organization that leads stewardship and protection of western Massachusetts climbing resources.

Boise Climbers Alliance
Boise Climber’s Alliance (BCA) was awarded funding to replace fixed anchors at Black Cliffs and Short Cliffs outside of Boise, Idaho. BCA will focus their work on worn and outdated top-anchors and protection bolts. BCA is an Access Fund Affiliate and grassroots local climbing organization working to steward and protect Boise area climbing resources.

Ohio Climbers Coalition
Ohio Climbers Coalition (OCC) was awarded funding to replace fixed anchors in Springfield Gorge, Ohio. This historic climbing area is being revitalized by local community partners, and it is being transformed into a climbing park—likely the largest climbing area in Ohio. OCC’s anchor replacement work will focus on updating the area’s aging bolts and top-anchors. OCC is an Access Fund Affiliate and local, grassroots climbing advocacy and conservation organization.

Southern Idaho Climbers Coalition
We are pleased to award funding to the Southern Idaho Climbers Coalition (SICC) to replace fixed anchors at The Prow climbing area. SICC’s project will upgrade 18 routes with bomber, longlasting half-inch stainless steel bolts and hardware. SICC is an Access Fund Affiliate and a local climbing stewardship organization working in the Twin Falls area.

Illinois Climbers Association
Illinois Climbers Coalition (ICA) was awarded funding to replace fixed anchors in Jackson Falls, Illinois. Jackson Falls is one of the most popular climbing destinations in the Midwest, and ICA will focus on upgrading the area’s aging bolts and anchors with glue-in bolts and stainless steel hardware. ICA is an Access Fund Affiliate and longtime Illinois climbing advocacy and stewardship organization.

New River Alliance of Climbers
We are pleased to award funding to the New River Alliance of Climbers (NRAC) to replace fixed anchors in Summersville Lake, West Virginia. NRAC is an Access Fund Affiliate and local climbing advocacy non-profit working to protect New River Gorge climbing resources.

Carolina Climbers Coalition
Carolina Climbers Coalition (CCC) was awarded funding to replace fixed anchors at Hidden Valley, Virginia. The CCC worked with Access Fund to acquire the Hidden Valley property in 2014. CCC is an Access Fund Affiliate and the climbing advocacy and conservation organization preserving and protecting climbing in North and South Carolina.

Minnesota Climbers Association
We are pleased to award funding to the Minnesota Climbers Association (MCA) to replace fixed anchors in Willow River State Park, Wisconsin. Willow River is a popular mid-western limestone sport crag, and MCA will continue to upgrade the area’s old 3/8” bolts to modern, long-lasting glue-in anchors. MCA is an Access Fund Affiliate and local climbing advocacy and conservation organization working to steward and protect climbing in Minnesota and surrounding areas.

Climbing Association of Southern Arizona
Climbing Association of Southern Arizona (CASA) was awarded funding to support a long-term anchor replacement project on Mt. Lemmon, a vast climbing area with thousands of routes. CASA will focus its efforts on the mountain’s most popular, high-traffic routes. CASA maintains a successful working partnership with Coronado National Forest, who owns and manages Mt. Lemmon.

Southern Utah Climber's Association
We are pleased to award funding to the Southern Utah Climber's Association (SUCA) for ongoing anchor replacement work in Utah Hills climbing areas. SUCA’s work will focus on Black and Tan, Kelly’s Rock, Gorilla, Simean Complex, and Soul Asylum. SUCA is a local climbing organization that leads regular stewardship and partnership projects with the Bureau of Land Management. The group has already helped replace over 800 anchors in the St. George region.

Friends of Joshua Tree
Friends of Joshua Tree (FOJT) was awarded funding to replace fixed anchors  at Joshua Tree’s Echo Rock, Intersection Rock, and other areas. A well-regarded partner of Joshua Tree National Park, FOJT has led sustainable fixed anchor and bolt replacement in Joshua Tree for more than a decade. The grant will support their ongoing efforts to upgrade routes with half-inch stainless steel bolts and hardware. FOJT is an Access Fund Affiliate and a non-profit climbing stewardship and advocacy organization.

Friends of Pinnacles
Friends of Pinnacles (FoP) was awarded funding for a second year to support ongoing anchor replacement work in California’s Pinnacles National Monument. FoP maintains a successful working partnership with land managers at Pinnacles, working to address climbing access, stewardship, education, and fixed anchors. Since 1991, FoP has replaced more than 500 bolts in the Pinnacles using a hand drill, in compliance with land management policy.

Salt Lake Climbers Alliance
We are pleased to award Salt Lake Climbers Alliance (SLCA) with funding to replace fixed anhors in Lower Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. The project builds off of SLCA’s recent success in American Fork and Big Cottonwood Canyon, where they upgraded dozens of popular routes. The work in Little Cottonwood Canyon will be coordinated by SLCA’s new Wasatch Anchor Replacement Initiative. SLCA is an Access Fund Affiliate and a local, non-profit climbing advocacy and stewardship organization focused on the climbing resources of the Wasatch and beyond.

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 Climbing; 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 atamericanalpineclub.org.

About Access Fund
Access Fund is the national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment. Founded in 1991, the Access Fund supports and represents millions of climbers nationwide in all forms of climbing: rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, and bouldering. Six core programs support the mission on national and local levels: climbing policy and advocacy, stewardship and conservation, local support and mobilization, land acquisition and protection, risk management and landowner support, and education. For more information, visit www.accessfund.org.

 

 

AAC and the Alliance for Sustainable Energy Powering Alpine Research

August 29, 2016, Golden, CO—The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, which manages the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden for the Department of Energy, has partnered with the American Alpine Club to provide AAC Research Grants. The Alliance will contribute $5,000 to future grants and provide technical support for their administration. These grants will support clean energy and other scientific endeavors in mountains and crags around the world. Grant winners provide vital knowledge about our climbing environments and enrich our understanding of environmental impacts.

NREL’s work in clean energy aligns with AAC’s long history of supporting some of the most significant mountain explorations in the world, including the 1939 summit attempt on K2, the 1963 first American summit of Everest, and the 1966 summit of Antarctica's Mt. Vinson.

In addition to providing funding, the Alliance will support the club’s research grants by participating in the grant reviews.

“We’re lucky to have a laboratory in our backyard that is leading the country in developing clean energy technology,” says Policy and Advocacy Director Maria Millard. “It’s a natural fit for such a powerhouse to fuel our research grants.”

Previous AAC research grant winners have studied snow surfaces and the formation of snow bedforms in Antarctica and Colorado, providing useful information for alpine travelers and avalanche professionals. A recent "Live your Dream" climbing grant awardee just returned from a month in Nepal where a team from Goal Zero installed solar panels in remote mountain villages.  Another grant participant examined the impact of human and climate disturbance on alpine plants, information that can inform land management decisions and backcountry travel.

The AAC Research Grant application opens on November 15 and closes on January 15. Learn more about the club’s grants program and how you can apply: americanalpineclub.org/research-grants

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 Climbing; 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.

 

 

American Alpine Club Announces Athlete Tour Featuring Ueli Steck

August 10, 2016, Golden, CO—The American Alpine Club (AAC) Athlete Speaker Tour featuring legendary speed climber Ueli Steck, presented by Alpina Watches, will kick-off in New York City, New York on August 28 and end in Denver, Colorado, September 14.

Ueli Steck is best known for his solo speed climbs of the infamous Eiger Nordwand, the Matterhorn, and more recently, the south face of Annapurna.

The highly acclaimed “Swiss Machine" will present a visually stunning and interactive slideshow about his experiences climbing the world's largest mountains, setting speed records without oxygen, his daring 82 Summits Challenge, and recent trip to the Himalaya.    

“As climbers we test our abilities and strive to climb harder and higher within the limits of our lives, bodies and minds,” said CEO Phil Powers. “I think we all wonder what we could do with limitless time, extraordinary strength and skill and an unconstrained mind. Ueli Steck offers of glimpse of what that might look like—it's inspiring.”

"Ueli Steck embodies the Swiss sportsmanship and mountaineering values to the fullest,” said Alpina Watches CEO Guido Benedini. “Being a historic Swiss watch manufacturer, we are proud to support his AAC National Athlete Speaker Tour, which we are sure will inspire the current and young generations of Alpinists and mountain lovers.”

Tickets are currently available for all tour stops—the event is expected to sell out like the popular 2014 tour. A limited number of VIP tickets are available for purchase. VIP Gatherings take place prior to each show, and offer an intimate meet and greet with Ueli.

To find out more information about additional tour dates and athlete appearances, please visit  https://americanalpineclub.org/athlete-tour

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.
 

About Alpina

Alpine Watch Manufacturing since 1883

Alpina, famous for its red triangle signature, is an independent, family-owned fine watchmaking manufacture based in Geneva, Switzerland. Founded in 1883, Alpina’s watchmaking history spans more than 130 years.

A true pioneer of the Swiss watchmaking industry, Alpina has been the source of numerous patents and innovative calibers. Alpina invented the concept of the Swiss sport watch, as we know it today, with the birth of its legendary Alpina 4 in 1938.  

Today, Alpina is one of the very few independent Swiss watch companies, which develops, produces and assembles its movements entirely in-house. Alpina proposes five in-house calibers: the AL-980 Tourbillon; the AL-718 World Timer; the AL-950 Automatic Regulator; the AL-710 Automatic Small Date and the AL-760 Flyback Chronograph.

Faithful to its long tradition of innovation, in 2015 Alpina introduced the first Swiss Made Smartwatch, thereby creating a new watch category in the Swiss watch industry, the Horological Smartwatch.

Alpina’s mission is to design and engineer luxury sport watches that operate with the greatest precision and reliability possible in the most demanding sporting environments, like the Alps.

www.alpina-watches.com

 

Climber Falls in Waddington Range, British Columbia

British Columbia, July 29, 2016—At approximately 3:00 p.m. PT on Sunday, July 24, Laurel Fan (34) a loved member of the Alpine Mentors–AAC Pacific Northwest Program fell while ascending Serra 2 in the Waddington Range of British Columbia.

The lead mentor, a highly experienced alpine climber and a close member of the American Alpine Club community, was accompanying two mentees on their final graduation climb of the two-year Alpine Mentors–AAC Pacific Northwest Program. The three were scrambling third class terrain when one climber fell and could not be saved.

Local rescue teams, military, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and Global Rescue were notified. As of July 28, RCMP has suspended recovery efforts.

“AAC members mentor other climbers all the time and this program is one of the best examples. We are proud of what Alpine Mentors has been able to do over the years and are extremely distraught over this tragedy,” said AAC CEO Phil Powers. “We still have much to learn about what happened, but the program leaders are some of the most accomplished alpinists America has ever produced.”

“The Alpine Mentors community is very small, and we are greatly saddened by this terrible tragedy,” said Alpine Mentors Founder Steve House, “and our hearts are with Laurel’s friends and family. We are grateful that the two surviving party members were able to draw upon their experience and competence to execute what was a difficult descent after losing one member of their team and a good part of the equipment that climber was carrying.”

The American Alpine Club and Alpine Mentors work with mentees to select progressive climbing itineraries appropriate to their skills, abilities, and experience. While risk can never be eliminated, the health, safety, and well being of members and participants is always a primary concern in evaluating objectives. 

This is a tragic and deeply felt loss to our tight knit community. Thank you for your understanding and support as we work on ensuring the well-being of the member’s family and climbing partners.

About Alpine Mentors

Alpine Mentors is a federal recognized tax-deductible 501(c)3 non-profit cooperation and was founded in 2012 in order to promote alpinism by encouraging, coaching and climbing with technically proficient alpinists who aspire to climb the world's greatest mountains in a lightweight, low-impact style. Participants endeavor to communicate their experience with humility and integrity, act to redress the environmental impacts of climbing, respectfully give back to the communities that host them, and foster an inclusive, supportive environment within local and international climbing communities at all levels.

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.

Media Contact:
American Alpine Club
Phil Powers, CEO
303.905.6330

Alpine Mentors
Steve House, Founder of Alpine Mentors
970.318.0211

 

American Alpine Club Past President Nick Clinch Passes Away

June 15, 2016, Golden, CO—American Alpine Club past president Nicholas Bayard Clinch (b. 1930) passed away today, June 15, 2016 in Palo Alto, California.

Clinch is regarded as one of America's most successful expedition leaders. He is the only American to have led the first ascent of an 8,000 meter peak: Hidden Peak (Gasherbrum I, 26,470 feet) in 1958. He also led the first ascent of the notorious and beautiful Masherbrum (25,660 feet) in 1960 and Mount Vinson, the highest peak in Antarctica, along with the other major summits of the Vinson Massif in 1966. Clinch Peak (15,883 ft) was named in his honor in 2006.

Clinch’s account of the 1958 Hidden Peak expedition was published as the book A Walk in the Sky in 1982. Nick also published Through a Land of Extremes: The Littledales of Central Asia with his wife Elizabeth Clinch in 2011.

His explorations have included numerous ascents in the United States, the British Columbia Coast Range, Peru and China. He also introduced the ice screw into North American climbing usage. For his extraordinary services to mountaineering Clinch was made a Fellow of the prestigious Explorers Club in 1969 and later elected to Honorary Membership in The Alpine Club [London]. In 2013 he was inducted into the Hall of Mountaineering Excellence for both his achievements on and off the mountain by the American Mountaineering Museum. He is an honorary member of the American Alpine Club and has received the Heilprin Award for service to the Club and the rarely granted President’s Gold Medal—twice.

Beyond Clinch's important role in the history of American mountaineering, his devotion to the AAC helped the Club thrive over the 62 years of his membership. Nick served as Club president from 1968 to 1970 and afterwards he served one term (1971-1973) as treasurer. He has been instrumental in the growth of the AAC Library, and a major contributor to the Central Asia collection. In 1971 Nick worked tirelessly with Leigh Ortenberg and NPS Director Horace Albright to establish the Grand Teton Climbers’ Ranch.

He was a student of climbing history and a prolific book collector with, as he often said, “the discrimination of a vacuum cleaner,” according to AAC CEO Phil Powers. His collection resides at the American Alpine Club Library in Golden, Colorado.

“Nick certainly contributed much to climbing in America. He was a brilliant expedition leader and a wonderful diplomat. But I think most of his contributions were behind the scenes,” said Powers. “He was always there with the counsel to get us through the hard decisions. I have benefitted from knowing a number of the great men on whose shoulders we stand as climbers today—but I’ll miss none more than Nick.”

Between expeditions and playing a strong and ongoing leadership role in support of AAC, Clinch was a long-time Executive Director of the Sierra Club Foundation and an early board member at REI.

 

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.

 

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.

 

NORTHWEST REGION:

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.

 

WESTERN REGION:

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.

 

ROCKY MOUNTAIN REGION:

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.

 

CENTRAL REGION:

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.

 

NORTHEAST REGION:

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.

 

SOUTHEAST REGION:

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.

Alpina AAC Cutting Edge Award Announced

The American Alpine Club and Alpina Watches announce the Alpina AAC Cutting Edge Award in recognition of excellence in climbing.

April 19, 2016, Golden, CO—The American Alpine Club (AAC) in partnership with Alpina Watches is proud to announce the inaugural Alpina AAC Cutting-Edge Award. 

Honoring the deep traditions of style, ethics, and the “Brotherhood of the Rope,” The Alpina AAC Cutting Edge Award will recognize one climbing team who, with the aid of an AAC climbing grant, demonstrated excellence in climbing, upheld the values of the American Alpine Club and Alpina Watches, and acted in a manner befit a world-class ambassador to American climbing both domestically and abroad. 

“Alpina is a great partnership for this new award. Both the AAC and Alpina believe in high standards of performance and promoting those climbers who employ exceptional style both on and off the mountain,” said Phil Powers, CEO of the American Alpine Club. “The Cutting Edge Award celebrates great climbing achievement with an emphasis on admirable camaraderie within the team, and a real respect for the environments which they travel.”

“Climbing has no boundaries and no nationality. Climbers from all over the world share the same human, ethical and sports values, because the mountain demands and deserves them” says Guido Benedini, Alpina Watches CEO. “Being a Brand born in the Swiss Alps in 1883, since more than a century, we regard it as our responsibility to support mountaineering values and the protection of the Alpine environment. We are therefore extremely proud to give our contribution to the AAC by supporting the Alpina AAC Cutting Edge Award and by becoming their Official Watch”. 

The award will be presented May 7, 2016, in Denver, Colorado at the 2016 Excellence in Climbing Awards Dinner. The evening will also feature a keynote by Libby Sauter and honor the 2016 Hall of Mountaineering Excellence Awardees: Tom Frost, Hugh Herr, John Roskelley, Libby Sauter, and Geoff Tabin. These climbers have inspired a legacy for future climbers, positively impacted the environment, and advanced the fields of science and medicine, all while accomplishing incredible climbing feats.

Tickets are very limited. For more information and to reserve your spot, call (303) 384-0110 or visit americanalpineclub.org/2016-excellence. Registration closes April 29, or when sold out.

 

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 Climbing; 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.

 

About Alpina

Alpine Watch Manufacturing since 1883

Alpina, famous for its red triangle signature, is an independent, family-owned fine watchmaking manufacture based in Geneva, Switzerland. Founded in 1883, Alpina’s watchmaking history spans more than 130 years.

A true pioneer of the Swiss watchmaking industry, Alpina has been the source of numerous patents and innovative calibers. Alpina invented the concept of the Swiss sport watch, as we know it today, with the birth of its legendary Alpina 4 in 1938.  

Today, Alpina is one of the very few independent Swiss watch companies, which develops, produces and assembles its movements entirely in-house. Alpina proposes five in-house calibers: the AL-980 Tourbillon; the AL-718 World Timer; the AL-950 Automatic Regulator; the AL-710 Automatic Small Date and the AL-760 Flyback Chronograph.

Faithful to its long tradition of innovation, in 2015 Alpina introduced the first Swiss Made Smartwatch, thereby creating a new watch category in the Swiss watch industry, the Horological Smartwatch.

Alpina’s mission is to design and engineer luxury sport watches that operate with the greatest precision and reliability possible in the most demanding sporting environments, like the Alps.

www.alpina-watches.com

 

American Alpine Club Announces Inaugural Excellence in Climbing Awards Dinner

Registration now open for the Excellence in Climbing Awards Dinner.

March 29, 2016, Golden, CO—The American Alpine Club is proud to announce our inaugural Excellence in Climbing Awards Dinner, presented by Adidas Outdoor. The dinner will feature a keynote by Adidas athlete Libby Sauter and honor the 2016 Hall of Mountaineering Excellence Awardees: Tom Frost, Hugh Herr, John Roskelley, Libby Sauter, and Geoff Tabin. This prestigious award is given to those who have made lasting contributions both on and off the mountain. These climbers have inspired a legacy for future climbers, positively impacted the environment, and advanced the fields of science and medicine, all while accomplishing incredible climbing feats.

“For the past 7 years, the American Mountaineering Museum has been quietly inducting America's most accomplished climbers into the Hall of Mountaineering Excellence,” said AAC CEO Phil Powers. “This year the AAC is recognizing these notable climbers in a much more public forum in downtown Denver.”

The event features a special keynote by Libby Sauter. An all around climber, Sauter has many accomplishments ranging from big walls to mountaineering to high lining. She holds speed records in Yosemite and has done first ascents in South America. When not in the mountains, Sauter works as a pediatric nurse for Novick Cardiac Alliance, a nonprofit that brings cardiac care to conflict zones.

Here is a little more about this year’s group of inductees:

Tom Frost for his efforts in saving Yosemite's iconic Camp 4 and his many first ascents in Yosemite including the Salathe Wall. 

Geoff Tabin for co-founding The Himalayan Cataract Project, which brings sustainable eye care to the Himalaya and for climbing the seven summits. 

John Roskelley for giving back to the climbing community with his writing, his public service and notable ascents in the Himalaya including the third ascent, and first American ascent,  of K2, by a new route.

Hugh Herr who is head of the Biomechatronics research group at MIT,where he develops wearable robotic systems that serve to augment human physical capability and for climbing many first ascents such as the first 5.13 on the East Coast with Lynn Hill.

Libby Sauter for her many speed records in Yosemite, including a new women's record on the Nose of 4 hours and 43 minutes, and for her work as a pediatric nurse for children who need heart surgery in third world countries.

The dinner  will be held on May 7, 2016 at the History Colorado Center located at 1200 Broadway, Denver, CO 80203. To go along with the keynote and induction ceremony, attendees will enjoy a cocktail reception, live and silent auctions, libations, and fine dining.  An after party featuring live music by 80’s cover band,  The Goonies, an open bar, and gear giveaway will take place directly after the dinner also at History Colorado. All proceeds benefit The American Alpine Club Library and The Bradford Washburn American Mountaineering Museum.

Tickets are very limited. For more information and to reserve your spot, call (303) 384-0110 or visit americanalpineclub.org/2016-excellence. Registration closes on April 29th, or when sold out.

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 Climbing; 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.

1966 American Antarctic Expedition to be Honored with Rare AAC Gold Medal

—Award Presentation in Washington D.C. will Honor Climbing's Luminaries and Rising Stars—

January 15, 2016, Golden, CO—The American Alpine Club (AAC) is proud to announce its 2016 award recipients.

Every year the AAC recognizes outstanding achievements in conservation, climbing, and service to the climbing community. This year is no exception. Eighteen individuals will be recognized for displaying monumental drive, courage, and commitment in the mountains and in their lives. This year, most notable among them will be the ten members of the 1966 American Antarctic Mountaineering Expedition. For only the fifth time in the Club's 114-year history, this intrepid team will be awarded the President's Gold Medal. Eight other outstanding community members also will receive awards: Bob Kandiko, Mike Helms, James Donini, Kevin Mahoney, Jonathan B. Jarvis, Alison Osius, Katie Ives, and David Allfrey. All awards will be presented during the AAC's Annual Benefit Dinner weekend, February 26–27, 2016, in Washington, D.C. Seats are very limited.

President's Gold Medal The President's Gold Medal is given very rarely—this is the fifth time it has been given in the Club's 114-year history—for extraordinary accomplishments in the climbing world. This year the award will be given to the entire 1966 American Antarctic Mountaineering Expedition team. This includes: Nicholas Clinch, Barry Corbet (2004), John Evans, Eiichi Fukushima, Charley Hollister (1999), Bill Long, Brian Marts, Pete Schoening (2004), Samuel Silverstein, and Richard Wahlstrom(2003). Fifty years ago, they made the daring first ascents of six of Antarctica's tallest peaks, including Vinson Massif. The 1966 team's landmark accomplishments in Antarctica are worthy of the President's Gold Medal.

Honorary Membership is the one of the highest awards the AAC offers. It is given to those individuals who have had a lasting and highly significant impact on the advancement of the climbing craft. This year's winners are Layton Kor (posthumous) and Alison Osius.

Layton pioneered new routes throughout Colorado, California and across the desert Southwest, for decades, beginning in the late 1950's. "He had an eye for a beautiful line and was one of the first to go get them," said AAC CEO Phil Powers. "Routes like the Naked Edge and Yellow Spur in Eldorado, the Kor-Ingalls route on Castleton Tower and the West Buttress of El Capitan, are only a few examples of the classic routes established by Layton.

Alison was part of a small band of women who were always on the podium in the early days of competition climbing in the US. She is a life long climber and, as executive editor of Rock & Ice Magazine, a lifelong climbing ambassador. She was the first and only woman president of the American Alpine Club; and winner of the 2007 AAC Literary Award.

David Sowles Award is conferred from time to time on mountaineers who have distinguished themselves by going to the assistance of fellow climbers imperiled in the mountains. Bob Kandiko and Mike Helms demonstrated unselfish devotion through personal risk and sacrifices of a major objective during a rescue on Denali in 1980. "The epic rescue of two climbers from the southwest face of Denali in 1980 is one of the great stories of Alaska climbing history," said AAC Executive Editor Dougald MacDonald. "Bob Kandiko and Mike Helms helped two stricken climbers off the mountain via two separate routes, in very tough conditions. It's high time they get more recognition for their brave efforts."

The Robert and Miriam Underhill Award is given annually to that person who, in the opinion of the selection committee, has demonstrated the highest level of skill in the mountaineering arts and who, through the application of this skill, courage, and perseverance, has achieved outstanding success in various fields of mountaineering. This year's winner, Kevin Mahoney is a lifelong climber and mountain guide with a wealth of experience in Alaska, the Indian Himalaya and Europe. He was nominated for the Piolet d'Or for his new route, Arctic Rage on the East Face of Moose's Tooth in Alaska which he completed with Ben Gilmore.

The Angelo Heilprin Citation is awarded annually to that person who has, in the opinion of the citation committee, shown exemplary service to the Club. The purpose of this citation is to recognize those who have worked to maintain and strengthen the organization and thus further its ability to serve its fundamental purposes. James Donini for his long contributions to the Club. He established the Craggin' Classic program, an event developed to educate climbers, gather the climbing community, and fundraise for critical AAC programs such as the Live Your Dream Grant. Heilprin committee chair Bruce Franks had this to say about Donini, "He continues his volunteer service to sections by performing video and speaking events. He mentors young climbers. He's committed to climbing and does so at a high competency level setting a fine example for all climbers young or old. His visibility throughout the U.S. and International climbing communities is well known. He is a model volunteer. It will be an honor to present the Citation to James. I feel his recognition is overdue and a long time coming."

The David R. Brower Award, created in 1991, is an annual award recognizing leadership and commitment to preserving mountain regions worldwide. This year's awardee is Jonathan B. Jarvis, the 18th Director of the National Park Service. "We are honoring Director Jarvis because of his unwavering commitment to conservation and recreation," said Powers. "He is a true champion for climbing. Through his leadership, he has legitimized climbing as an appropriate activity on public lands in the U.S." The AAC applauds Jarvis for his efforts to maximize the educational potential of parks and to engage the next generation of public lands stewards. Jarvis' belief that the outdoors are a source of public health, and that the parks are a unifying, inspirational force for the nation resonate strongly with the AAC's mission.

The Robert Hicks Bates Award's purpose is to recognize a young climber who—in the judgment of the selection committee—has demonstrated exceptional skill and character in the climbing or mountaineering arts and has outstanding promise for future accomplishment. "David Allfrey is one of the most accomplished and competent big-wall climbers at the moment. He conceived the idea of climbing seven El Cap routes in seven days, which he carried out with Alex Honnold. This was a proper step up as far as El Cap climbing goes," said committee chair Rolando Garibotti.

The H. Adams Carter Literary Award was established to recognize excellence in alpine literature. This year's winner, Katie Ives is recognized for a life of contribution to climbing through the written word. "Katie Ives has brought thoughtful analysis, brilliant writing and finesse to climbing literature since joining the Alpinist team in 2004," said Powers. "As Editor and now Editor-in-Chief Katie has upheld a long tradition of excellence in American climbing literature and reporting."

About the Annual Benefit Dinner

The 2016 AAC Annual Benefit Dinner will celebrate 100 years of climbing in National Parks with keynote speaker Alex Honnold. In addition to Honnold's keynote address, attendees will enjoy fine dining, beer and wine, live and silent auctions, and awards honoring climbing's luminaries and rising stars. All proceeds benefit AAC programs. Tickets are very limited. For more information and to reserve your spot, visit americanalpineclub.org/honnold. Registration closes on February 20, or when sold out.


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.
 

2016 Lyman Spitzer Cutting Edge Award Winners Announced

January 4, 2016, Golden, CO—The American Alpine Club is excited to announce its 2016 Lyman Spitzer Cutting Edge Awards. This grant, made possible by the generous support of Lyman Spitzer Jr., promotes state-of-the-art, cutting edge climbing through financial support of small, lightweight climbing teams attempting bold first ascents or difficult repeats of the most challenging routes in the world.

"The committee was especially impressed with this year's objectives and team strengths," commented committee chair Paul Gagner. “The two teams below represent the spirit and intent of the award and the AAC is very happy to support their dreams." 

The two Shagrilas - Chris Wright & Tico Gangulee will travel to the Kullu Himalaya in India to fill in blanks on the map. The team has several objectives, all unclimbed. According to one US climber who saw the peak on a 2011 ski expedition, “I have no idea if this peak has a name or not but it was drop dead gorgeous. I just remember thinking the potential for rad alpine climbs up this valley would be endless." 

Unclimbed, often tried Link Sar Rob Duncan, Jesse Mease, Marcos Costa will travel to the head of the Charakusa glacier in the Pakistan Karakoram, with two objectives in mind. The first and primary objective is the still unclimbed 7,041 meter summit of Link Sar, a complex and stunning peak. After this ascent the team will move to the Choktoi Glacier to climb Ogre II via the NE ridge a route attempted and climbed this past year to just below the summit. The AAC and Spitzer committee wish both teams good luck. 

The AAC offers numerous grants with differing criteria, from the locally administered Live Your Dream grants, to mountain fellowship grants for climbers under the age of 25, as well as Cornerstone Conservation grants that keep our local climbing areas healthy. For a full list of grants visit the American Alpine Club website at americanalpineclub.org/grants

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.

American Alpine Club President Doug Walker Dies in Avalanche

January 1, 2016, Golden, CO—American Alpine Club President Douglas Walker died Thursday, December 31, 2015 in an avalanche on Granite Mountain in the Cascades. Doug Walker, 64, of Seattle, went missing Thursday afternoon while hiking with friends. Details surrounding the accident are still being learned.

“Doug Walker's leadership at the AAC was the secret weapon that cemented the Club as one that welcomes and represents all climbers. He led the capital campaign that funded our growth and stepped from that directly into leading our board with strength and grace," said Phil Powers Chief Executive Officer of the American Alpine Club and and long-time colleague of Walker. “He was not only a mentor and adviser for me; he was a climbing partner and friend."

Doug was a climber for more than 40 years. Doug has a serious commitment to conservation of mountain landscapes and promotion of the climbing way of life. In his professional life he co-founded and managed a mid-sized world-wide software company for 25 years. Doug served as a Director of REI for 12 years and was Chair of REI from 2005–2008. As an REI Director, he played an important role in addressing the “fixed anchor" crisis in 1998. 

In addition to serving as President of the American Alpine Club, Doug was a chairman of the Wilderness Society, a director of the Conservation Lands Foundation and was an Advisory Council Member for the National Parks Conservation Association and the Land Trust Alliance. In his spare time, Doug volunteered as a climbing instructor for the YMCA's BOLD program. 

Memorial contributions may be made to the Doug Walker Fund through the American Alpine Club: www.americanalpineclub.org/donate.

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.

 

 

Alex Honnold is Keynote Speaker for 2016 Annual Benefit Dinner

Registration now open for biggest and most anticipated AAC event of the year.

December 1, 2015, Golden, CO—The American Alpine Club is proud to announce Alex Honnold—one of climbing's most recognizable talents—as the keynote speaker for the 2016 AAC Annual Benefit Dinner, presented by REI and The North Face, honoring 100 years of climbing in our National Parks.

Honnold will speak February 27th, 2016, at The Mayflower hotel, located at 1127 Conneticut Avenue North West in Washington, DC. Honnold has forever changed our perspective of the possible with feats like the iconic Fitz Roy Traverse and a 24-hour sprint on the Yosemite Triple Crown. Alex leads a new generation of cutting edge climbers, especially in Yosemite National Park.

The festivities are open to the public and kick off on Friday, February 26th with the Annual Membership Meeting and Climbers' Gathering at Earth Treks Rockville. Open to everyone, the evening will include a food truck, DJ, libations, and awards.Dinner attendees will have access to special panel discussions and seminars during the day on Saturday.

The main event the night of the 27th will gather all generations for an unprecedented climbers' celebration in D.C. In addition to Honnold's keynote address, attendees will enjoy fine dining, beer and wine, live and silent auctions, and awards—including the rare President's Gold Medal—will be given honoring climbing's luminaries and rising stars. All proceeds benefit AAC programs.

Tickets are very limited. For more information and to reserve your spot, visit americanalpineclub.org/honnold. Registration closes on February 19, or when sold out.

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, theAmerican Alpine JournalandAccidents 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.

2015 Anchor Replacement Fund Recipients Announced

Access Fund and American Alpine Club Announce First Round of Anchor Replacement Fund Grant Awards

October 14, 2015, Golden, CO —The Access Fund and American Alpine Club are pleased to announce the first-ever grant round for the new Anchor Replacement Fund. During this round, we have awarded a total of $10,000 to seventeen anchor replacement projects across the country. The new grant program was launched earlier this year to address the growing concerns of anchor failure and the access issues that could result from these incidents. Across the United States, bolts installed in the 80s and 90s are aging, and there is an immediate need to address inadequate fixed anchors and increase support for local and national partners leading these efforts. This program is made possible by the generous support of Climb Tech, Petzl, and Trango. We are pleased to announce funding for the following worthy projects.

AAC Colorado Climbing Posse
We are pleased to award funding to the AAC Colorado Climbing Posse to support fixed anchor replacement in Clear Creek Canyon, one of the most popular Colorado Front Range climbing areas. The project will focus on High Wire, a popular crag that receives a lot of climber traffic. A team of experienced anchor replacement volunteers will lead the effort, and priority will be given to replacing top-anchors then selected protection bolts.

Boise Climber's Alliance
Boise Climber's Alliance (BCA) was awarded funding to support their fixed anchor replacement project at Black Cliffs and Short Cliffs in southern Idaho, outside of Boise. BCA will focus their work on worn and outdated top-anchors and protection bolts. BCA is a grassroots local climbing organization working to steward and protect Boise area climbing resources.

Boulder Climbing Community
Boulder Climbing Community (BCC) was awarded funding to support long-term bolt replacement work in Colorado's Boulder Canyon, an area with more than 2,000 routes. BCC intends to replace bolts in the most sustainable fashion possible by removing and reusing holes, as well as installing hardware that is replaceable for the next generation.

Clifton Climber's Alliance
We are pleased to award funding to Clifton Climber's Alliance (CCA) to support their efforts to replace all non-stainless or inadequate hardware at Eagle Bluff in central Maine. Their work will update more than 70 fixed anchors with ½" stainless steel bolts. Last year CCA and Access Fund worked together to acquire and permanently protect Eagle Bluff.

Climbing Association of Southern Arizona
Climbing Association of Southern Arizona (CASA) was awarded funding to support a long-term anchor replacement project on Mt. Lemmon, a vast climbing area with thousands of routes. CASA will focus its efforts on the mountain's most popular, high-traffic routes. CASA maintains a successful working partnership with Coronado National Forest, who owns and manages Mt. Lemmon.

Climbing Resource Access Group of Vermont
We are pleased to award funding to Climbing Resource Access Group of Vermont (CRAG-VT) to support ongoing anchor replacement work at Bolton Valley crags. Volunteers will focus on re-using old bolt holes whenever possible and will replace outdated or inappropriate hardware with sustainable, long-lasting glue-in bolts. CRAG-VT is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of Vermont's climbing resources.

East Idaho Climber's Coalition
East Idaho Climber's Coalition (EICC) was awarded funding to support ongoing fixed anchor replacement work at Massacre Rocks. Their project will tackle replacement of aging, outdated hardware on 50 of the area's most popular routes at crags like Le Petite Covette, All American Area, and Red Light District.

East Tennessee Climbers' Coalition
We are pleased to award funding to East Tennessee Climbers' Coalition (ETCC) to support their ongoing anchor replacement work in the Obed Wild and Scenic River area of Tennessee. ETCC has already replaced 300 of an estimated 4,000 fixed anchors in the Obed. The grassroots organization maintains a longstanding partnership with Obed's National Park Service managers, performing a wide variety of stewardship work through their annual Adopt a Crag event.

Friends of Pinnacles
Friends of Pinnacles (FoP) was awarded funding to support ongoing anchor replacement work in California's Pinnacles National Park. Founded in 1989, FoP has maintained a successful working partnership with land managers at Pinnacles, working to address climbing access, stewardship, education, and fixed anchors. Since 1991, FoP has replaced more than 500 bolts in the Pinnacles by hand drill, in compliance with land management policy.

Northern Colorado Climbers Coalition
We are pleased to award funding to Northern Colorado Climbers Coalition (NCCC) to support replacement of high-use top-rope anchors at Cat's Eye and Bolt Wall at Horsetooth Reservoir in Colorado. Funding will also support NCCC's ongoing replacement work at other Ft. Collins-area crags. NCCC is a leading grassroots local climbing organization, protecting and stewarding the many climbing resources of Colorado's northern Front Range.

North Idaho Climbers Alliance
North Idaho Climbers Alliance (NICA) was awarded funding to support anchor replacement at Laclede, a popular crag especially suited to beginning climbers. Work will focus specifically on the Red Wall, Upper Main Wall, Lower Main Wall, and West End Cliff. NICA is a grassroots local climbing organization focusing on climbing stewardship in Idaho's panhandle.

Red River Gorge Fixed Gear Initiative
We are pleased to award funding to the Red River Gorge Fixed Gear Initiative (RRG FGI) to support their ongoing work to replace rusty, aging fixed anchors throughout the Red River Gorge. RRG FGI is a grassroots organization that partners with the climbing industry, local community, and route equippers to ensure fixed anchors in Red River Gorge are of the highest standard.

Rumney Climbers Association
Rumney Climbers Association (RCA) was awarded funding to support replacement of worn top-anchors on Rumney's extremely popular routes. RCA will utilize stainless steel pig-tail systems as a more sustainable solution for high-use top-anchors that are wearing far too quickly. Rumney is owned and managed by White Mountain National Forest, and RCA maintains a strong and successful partnership with them.

Salt Lake Climbers Alliance
Salt Lake Climbers Alliance (SLCA) was awarded funding to support anchor replacement in Big Cottonwood Canyon. The project builds off of SLCA's recent success in American Fork, where they upgraded anchors on 28 popular routes. The work in Big Cottonwood will be coordinated by SLCA's new Wasatch Anchor Replacement Initiative, which is also working on a Wasatch Best Practices Handbook to address important considerations for anchor replacement and route development in their area.

Southern Utah Climber's Association
We are pleased to award funding to the Southern Utah Climber's Association (SUCA) for ongoing anchor replacement work in Utah Hills climbing areas. SUCA's work will cover crags such as Black and Tan, Kelly's Rock, Gorilla, Simean Complex, and Soul Asylum. SUCA is a local climbing organization that leads regular stewardship and partnership projects with the BLM. The group has already helped replace over 800 anchors in the St. George region.

Telluride Mountain Club
Telluride Mountain Club (TMC) in Colorado was awarded funding to support anchor replacement projects at Ophir Wall and Cracked Canyon, some of Telluride's most historic climbing areas. Replacement work will be coordinated through TMC's Anchor Replacement Committee. TMC works to preserve and enhance public access to human-powered recreation including hiking, backcountry skiing and boarding, mountaineering, climbing, and other mountain-related recreation.

Washington State Anchor Replacement Project
We are pleased to award funding to Washington State Anchor Replacement Project (WARP) to support ongoing anchor replacement work across Washington State. WARP presently focuses their efforts in the Seattle metro region at areas like Little Si, Exit 38, and Index, as well as in the Cascades at areas such as Leavenworth, Washington Pass, and Stuart Range.


About the Access Fund

The Access Fund is the national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment. Founded in 1991, the Access Fund supports and represents millions of climbers nationwide in all forms of climbing: rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, and bouldering. Six core programs support the mission on national and local levels: climbing policy and advocacy, stewardship and conservation, local support and mobilization, land acquisition and protection, risk management and landowner support, and education. For more information, visit www.accessfund.org.

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 $100,000+ toward climbing, conservation, and research grants that fund adventurers who travel the world. Learn about additional programs and become a member at americanalpineclub.org.

Access Fund and American Alpine Club Announce First Round of Anchor Replacement Fund Grant Awards

October 14, 2015, Golden, CO —The Access Fund and American Alpine Club are pleased to announce the first-ever grant round for the new Anchor Replacement Fund. During this round, we have awarded a total of $10,000 to seventeen anchor replacement projects across the country. The new grant program was launched earlier this year to address the growing concerns of anchor failure and the access issues that could result from these incidents. Across the United States, bolts installed in the 80s and 90s are aging, and there is an immediate need to address inadequate fixed anchors and increase support for local and national partners leading these efforts. This program is made possible by the generous support of Climb Tech, Petzl, and Trango. We are pleased to announce funding for the following worthy projects.

AAC Colorado Climbing Posse
We are pleased to award funding to the AAC Colorado Climbing Posse to support fixed anchor replacement in Clear Creek Canyon, one of the most popular Colorado Front Range climbing areas. The project will focus on High Wire, a popular crag that receives a lot of climber traffic. A team of experienced anchor replacement volunteers will lead the effort, and priority will be given to replacing top-anchors then selected protection bolts.

Boise Climber's Alliance
Boise Climber's Alliance (BCA) was awarded funding to support their fixed anchor replacement project at Black Cliffs and Short Cliffs in southern Idaho, outside of Boise. BCA will focus their work on worn and outdated top-anchors and protection bolts. BCA is a grassroots local climbing organization working to steward and protect Boise area climbing resources.

Boulder Climbing Community
Boulder Climbing Community (BCC) was awarded funding to support long-term bolt replacement work in Colorado's Boulder Canyon, an area with more than 2,000 routes. BCC intends to replace bolts in the most sustainable fashion possible by removing and reusing holes, as well as installing hardware that is replaceable for the next generation.

Clifton Climber's Alliance
We are pleased to award funding to Clifton Climber's Alliance (CCA) to support their efforts to replace all non-stainless or inadequate hardware at Eagle Bluff in central Maine. Their work will update more than 70 fixed anchors with ½" stainless steel bolts. Last year CCA and Access Fund worked together to acquire and permanently protect Eagle Bluff.

Climbing Association of Southern Arizona
Climbing Association of Southern Arizona (CASA) was awarded funding to support a long-term anchor replacement project on Mt. Lemmon, a vast climbing area with thousands of routes. CASA will focus its efforts on the mountain's most popular, high-traffic routes. CASA maintains a successful working partnership with Coronado National Forest, who owns and manages Mt. Lemmon.

Climbing Resource Access Group of Vermont
We are pleased to award funding to Climbing Resource Access Group of Vermont (CRAG-VT) to support ongoing anchor replacement work at Bolton Valley crags. Volunteers will focus on re-using old bolt holes whenever possible and will replace outdated or inappropriate hardware with sustainable, long-lasting glue-in bolts. CRAG-VT is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of Vermont's climbing resources.

East Idaho Climber's Coalition
East Idaho Climber's Coalition (EICC) was awarded funding to support ongoing fixed anchor replacement work at Massacre Rocks. Their project will tackle replacement of aging, outdated hardware on 50 of the area's most popular routes at crags like Le Petite Covette, All American Area, and Red Light District.

East Tennessee Climbers' Coalition
We are pleased to award funding to East Tennessee Climbers' Coalition (ETCC) to support their ongoing anchor replacement work in the Obed Wild and Scenic River area of Tennessee. ETCC has already replaced 300 of an estimated 4,000 fixed anchors in the Obed. The grassroots organization maintains a longstanding partnership with Obed's National Park Service managers, performing a wide variety of stewardship work through their annual Adopt a Crag event.

Friends of Pinnacles
Friends of Pinnacles (FoP) was awarded funding to support ongoing anchor replacement work in California's Pinnacles National Park. Founded in 1989, FoP has maintained a successful working partnership with land managers at Pinnacles, working to address climbing access, stewardship, education, and fixed anchors. Since 1991, FoP has replaced more than 500 bolts in the Pinnacles by hand drill, in compliance with land management policy.

Northern Colorado Climbers Coalition
We are pleased to award funding to Northern Colorado Climbers Coalition (NCCC) to support replacement of high-use top-rope anchors at Cat's Eye and Bolt Wall at Horsetooth Reservoir in Colorado. Funding will also support NCCC's ongoing replacement work at other Ft. Collins-area crags. NCCC is a leading grassroots local climbing organization, protecting and stewarding the many climbing resources of Colorado's northern Front Range.

North Idaho Climbers Alliance
North Idaho Climbers Alliance (NICA) was awarded funding to support anchor replacement at Laclede, a popular crag especially suited to beginning climbers. Work will focus specifically on the Red Wall, Upper Main Wall, Lower Main Wall, and West End Cliff. NICA is a grassroots local climbing organization focusing on climbing stewardship in Idaho's panhandle.

Red River Gorge Fixed Gear Initiative
We are pleased to award funding to the Red River Gorge Fixed Gear Initiative (RRG FGI) to support their ongoing work to replace rusty, aging fixed anchors throughout the Red River Gorge. RRG FGI is a grassroots organization that partners with the climbing industry, local community, and route equippers to ensure fixed anchors in Red River Gorge are of the highest standard.

Rumney Climbers Association
Rumney Climbers Association (RCA) was awarded funding to support replacement of worn top-anchors on Rumney's extremely popular routes. RCA will utilize stainless steel pig-tail systems as a more sustainable solution for high-use top-anchors that are wearing far too quickly. Rumney is owned and managed by White Mountain National Forest, and RCA maintains a strong and successful partnership with them.

Salt Lake Climbers Alliance
Salt Lake Climbers Alliance (SLCA) was awarded funding to support anchor replacement in Big Cottonwood Canyon. The project builds off of SLCA's recent success in American Fork, where they upgraded anchors on 28 popular routes. The work in Big Cottonwood will be coordinated by SLCA's new Wasatch Anchor Replacement Initiative, which is also working on a Wasatch Best Practices Handbook to address important considerations for anchor replacement and route development in their area.

Southern Utah Climber's Association
We are pleased to award funding to the Southern Utah Climber's Association (SUCA) for ongoing anchor replacement work in Utah Hills climbing areas. SUCA's work will cover crags such as Black and Tan, Kelly's Rock, Gorilla, Simean Complex, and Soul Asylum. SUCA is a local climbing organization that leads regular stewardship and partnership projects with the BLM. The group has already helped replace over 800 anchors in the St. George region.

Telluride Mountain Club
Telluride Mountain Club (TMC) in Colorado was awarded funding to support anchor replacement projects at Ophir Wall and Cracked Canyon, some of Telluride's most historic climbing areas. Replacement work will be coordinated through TMC's Anchor Replacement Committee. TMC works to preserve and enhance public access to human-powered recreation including hiking, backcountry skiing and boarding, mountaineering, climbing, and other mountain-related recreation.

Washington State Anchor Replacement Project
We are pleased to award funding to Washington State Anchor Replacement Project (WARP) to support ongoing anchor replacement work across Washington State. WARP presently focuses their efforts in the Seattle metro region at areas like Little Si, Exit 38, and Index, as well as in the Cascades at areas such as Leavenworth, Washington Pass, and Stuart Range.


About the Access Fund

The Access Fund is the national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment. Founded in 1991, the Access Fund supports and represents millions of climbers nationwide in all forms of climbing: rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, and bouldering. Six core programs support the mission on national and local levels: climbing policy and advocacy, stewardship and conservation, local support and mobilization, land acquisition and protection, risk management and landowner support, and education. For more information, visit www.accessfund.org.

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 $100,000+ toward climbing, conservation, and research grants that fund adventurers who travel the world. Learn about additional programs and become a member at americanalpineclub.org.

 

The American Alpine Club and the Access Fund Launch Anchor Replacement Fund

August 17, 2015, Golden, CO— The Access Fund and the American Alpine Club are proud to announce a joint grant program available to local climbing organizations and anchor replacement groups seeking funding for fixed anchor replacement at climbing areas across the United States. By partnering on this program, the nation's two national non-profit climbing organizations are filling a need unmet by their existing climbing conservation grants—replacing fixed anchors at local crags. This grant program is made possible by corporate support from ClimbTech, Petzl, and Trango.

"Across the United States, bolts installed in the 80's and 90's are aging, and there are growing concerns of anchor failure, incidents, and access issues," says Access Fund Executive Director Brady Robinson. “While bolting standards continue to evolve, there is an immediate need to address aging and inadequate fixed anchors and increase support for local and national partners leading these efforts."

American Alpine Club Executive Director Phil Powers adds: “As the American climbing community grows, it's critical that we partner to keep climbers safe. We owe it to future generations of climbers to maintain and steward all of our resources, including fixed anchors."

Earlier this year, the Access Fund and American Alpine Club released a joint policy on fixed anchors, which gives land managers, agency officials, and partner organizations in the climbing community a clear and consistent policy regarding the placement, maintenance, and management of fixed anchors for technical climbing. This new grant program is based on those same collaborative principles, and the Access Fund and American Alpine club encourage applicants to employ best practices for anchor replacement and demonstrate support from their local climbing community.

Fixed anchors are necessary tools for climbing and some level of fixed anchor use and replacement shall be allowed wherever climbing is allowed, and the appropriate level of use should be established on an area-by-area basis.

The Anchor Replacement Fund will further support the great work that organizations like the American Safe Climbing Association and numerous local climbing organizations have accomplished over the years. They have made significant investments and progress in anchor replacement, and we are excited to join this effort and hope that the Anchor Replacement Fund can help extend the reach of these initiatives.

The inaugural Anchor Replacement Fund application round is now open, and applications are due by September 15. A joint committee made up of experts from both organizations and the anchor replacement community will manage the review process. Grant guidelines and forms can be found on both organizations' websites and questions and applications can be directed to [email protected].

About the Access Fund

The Access Fund is the national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment. Founded in 1991, the Access Fund supports and represents millions of climbers nationwide in all forms of climbing: rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, and bouldering. Six core programs support the mission on national and local levels: climbing policy and advocacy, stewardship and conservation, local support and mobilization, land acquisition and protection, risk management and landowner support, and education. For more information, visit www.accessfund.org.

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 $100,000+ toward climbing, conservation, and research grants that fund adventurers who travel the world. Learn about additional programs and become a member at americanalpineclub.org.

2015 Cornerstone Conservation Grants Recipents Announced

$25,000 awarded to benefit healthy climbing landscapes

October 7, 2015, Golden, CO—The American Alpine Club (AAC) is proud to announce the recipients of the 2015 Cornerstone Conservation Grants powered by REI. To fulfill our vision of healthy climbing landscapes we award $25,000 annually to organizations, landowners, and individuals to help fund projects such as human waste solutions, climbing trail restoration, and related infrastructure projects. Thanks and congratulations to the following organizations for the good work they do:

· The Carolina Climbers Coalition $3,000 has formed a partnership with the YMCA and have gained access to the Sauratown cliffs, one of the most popular winter climbing destinations in the region but has been closed to climbing for many years.

Grant money will be used to build and maintain a climbers trail that can be used by the community and support the collaboration with the land owner.

· Climbing Association of Southern Arizona, $2,000 - Among the oldest developed climbing areas on Mt. Lemmon, Windy Point boasts the mountain's densest concentration of routes. Over the years, its popularity and accessibility have led to severely eroded access routes and extensive litter and vandalism.

They plan to mobilize their volunteer network and partner with the Forest Service and an erosion-control consultant to stabilize access routes and close spur trails, remove approximately 400 square feet of graffiti, and erect signs about Leave No Trace principles.

· Donner Land Trust $3,500.00 Donner Summit is a world-class climbing area because of the quality of granite, the quality of routes, ease of access, and ability to be stewarded as a climbing resource in perpetuity. The terrain is some of the most dramatic terrain in the Truckee Tahoe region. The acquisition will secure access to five different climbing areas with five star routes for generations to come.

Grant funds will provide for a kiosk, signage, trail permitting, and tools.

· Duluth Climbers Coalition $3,000.00 Casket Quarry is an important regional ice/mixed climbing venue and the centerpiece of a planned new Duluth city park: Quarry Park. Key to the first phase of development is improving the primary access trail. The current trail is a rough footpath, uneven and subject to seasonal flooding and erosion.

Improving this principal access route will facilitate climbing, preserve the environment, and help to fulfill the City's goal for developing Quarry Park into a universally accessible site for climbers and other user groups.

· Madrone Wall Preservation Committee $5,000.00 Owned by Clackamas County the 44 acre “Madrone Wall Park" has, for decades prior to its closing, been a mecca for rock climbing on its 1000 foot long cliff. The site now requires access road and parking upgrades, and the Cornerstone Grant will help fund a portion of a human waste solution

· Pikes Peak Climbers Alliance $5,000.00 – Shelf Road is a limestone crag in the Front Range that has seen a huge increase in the amount of climber traffic in recent years. Easily overcoming the ability of existing facilities to keep impact contained, they are in the process of an expansion, and they will use their grant money to fund a human waste solution.

Working with the BLM the toilet would significantly improve the climber experience at the area, and prevent human waste from being left behind at the crags in the sensitive high desert environment, and also allow allocated BLM money to have a broader impact in the expansion project.

· Southeast Climbers Coalition $1,500.00 will use their grant money to rehabilitate climbing areas vandalized with graffiti and install educational signage in the area. The removal project will span the entire southeast region with major projects taking place at Kings Bluff in Tennessee, Hospital Bouldersand Cherokee Rock Village in Alabama.

· Levitation 49 (Alaska) $2,000.00 – Valdez, Alaska has seen huge resurgence in climbing in Keystone Canyon due to a new climbing wall in town and two increasingly successful festivals in the winter and spring. With easy access from the road and its location in Alaska, Levitation 49 is working hard to make this crag a destination climbing area. Grant money will be used to construct human waste solutions at the trailhead and parking area.

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.

 

American Alpine Club Official Member of Outdoor Alliance

May 19, 2015, Golden, CO—The American Alpine Club (AAC) has joined as an official member of Outdoor Alliance, a coalition that unites the voices of the American outdoor recreation community. As a member organization of the coalition, the AAC will strengthen its voice in the national conversation about human-powered recreation on public lands, helping to secure climbing access for its members.

Outdoor Alliance is a coalition of seven national and regional outdoor recreation organizations that brings the outdoor recreation user voice to public land policy to protect, promote, and enhance the human-powered experience on our public lands.

“The American Alpine Club is a legendary mountaineering organization, with impressive roots in the conservation movement and a large and active membership," said Outdoor Alliance's Executive Director, Adam Cramer. "Their highly-engaged membership will complement our work protecting climbing and other human-powered recreation across the country." Outdoor Alliance coalition work has helped protect places like Browns Canyon in Colorado, increased protection for Colorado Roadless Areas, and improved access to outdoor recreation across public lands.

"In joining the coalition the AAC adds its voice to the much-needed effort to protect our public lands and ensure they are managed responsibly for recreation," said AAC CEO Phil Powers. "Just as importantly, our new partnership with the Outdoor Alliance gives our public policy staff a team to work with as we advocate for climbing in the United States." In uniting the voices of outdoor organizations of varying disciplines from across the country, OA stands as a testament to the AAC's belief that together we're stronger. This new partnership moves the AAC and its members another step toward the vision of a united community of competent climbers and healthy climbing landscapes.


About Outdoor Alliance:

Outdoor Alliance is a nonprofit coalition of organizations that include American Whitewater, American Canoe Association, Access Fund, International Mountain Bicycling Association, Winter Wildlands Alliance, and the Mountaineers. We are backcountry skiers, hikers, paddlers, mountain bikers, boaters, and climbers who share a commitment to protecting public lands. In uniting our voices, we are building and nurturing a conservation constituency for the 21st century.


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 $100,000+ toward climbing, conservation, and research grants that fund adventurers who travel the world. Learn about additional programs and become a member at americanalpineclub.org.

2015 Live Your Dream Grant Recipients

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.

2015 Recipients


WESTERN REGION:


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.




NORTHWESTERN REGION:


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.





ROCKIES REGION:


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.





CENTRAL REGION:


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.





NORTHEAST REGION:


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.




SOUTHEAST REGION:


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.