$36,000 in Mugs Stump Awards Announced

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1/14/14 - Seven recipients of the 2014 Mugs Stump Award will divide a total of $36,000 to help pay for expeditions on three continents. The annual award, a collaborative effort of Alpinist Magazine, Black Diamond, Mountain Gear, Patagonia, and W.L. Gore & Associates, was created in 1993 in memory of Mugs Stump, one of North America’s most visionary climbers. The grants go to small teams pursuing climbing objectives that exemplify light, fast, and clean alpinism.

South Avellano Tower in Chile.

South Avellano Tower in Chile. Photo by Jim Donini.

“The climbs proposed this year continue a long tradition of imagination, boldness, and commitment,” said Michael Kennedy, one of the grant’s founders. “It’s great to see so many motivated climbers getting after it in far-flung corners of the mountaineering world, from Alaska to Patagonia and the Himalaya.”

The 2014 Mugs Stump Award recipients are:

South Avellano Tower, Patagonia, Chile. David Anderson, Szu-ting Yi, and Jared Spaulding will head to the seldom-visited Avellano region in southern Chile, to attempt the 3,000-foot northeast face of South Avellano Tower, one of the biggest unclimbed walls in Chile. Anderson was part of the team that made the first climbing expedition into these towers, in 2004, when he climbed the highest Avellano Tower. The south tower was first climbed in 2008 by Jim Donini and Thom Engelbach.

Mt. Johnson, Alaska. Ryan Jennings and Kevin Cooper will seek an ephemeral ice and mixed line on the north face of Mt.  Johnson. A couple of routes have been completed on the ride side of Johnson's north face, but the tallest part of the wall is unclimbed.

Barnaj II and Hagshu Peak, Kishtwar, India. Jared Vilhauer, Tim Dittmann, and Seth Timpano will visit the recently reopened Kishtwar region of India, with two difficult objectives: the 5,000-foot north buttress of Barnaj II and the 3,500-foot north Face of Nagshu Peak (both ca. 6,300 meters). Barnaj II was attempted several times in the late 1970s and early ’80s, and the south summit was reached, but the highest peak is still unclimbed.

Labuche Kang III and Lunag Ri I, Tibet and Nepal. Chad Kellogg, David Gottlieb, and Jens Holsten will attempt a doubleheader on these two unclimbed peaks. “Lunag Ri (6,916 meters ) is the highest permitted unclimbed peak in Nepal, and Labuche Kang III (7,100 meters) is the second-highest in Tibet,” says Kellogg. “David and I have unfinished business on both, and Jens is looking to increase his altitude experience.” Gottlieb and Kellogg attempted Lunag Ri last autumn but had to descend when Gottlieb developed frostbite.

Nuptse, Nepal. Ian Welsted and Jason Kruk will attempt the aptly-named Zorro Route on the south face of Nupste (7,700 meters), a massive wall that Welsted calls “… a touchstone of world mountaineering, having been involved in all of the stages of the development of high-altitude climbing, from the expedition-style first ascent by the British to the recent alpine-style ascent by the French to the summit ridge.”

The west face of Gasherbrum IV in Pakistan.

The Shining Wall of Gasherbrum IV. Photo by Florian Ederer / Wikipedia.

Trango valley and Gasherbrum IV, Pakistan. Kyle Dempster, Hayden Kennedy, and Urban Novak (Slovenia) will spend over a month in the Trango valley before attempting a new route on the Shining Wall of Gasherbrum IV (7,925 meters). “Based on previous expeditions to Pakistan, a solid acclimatization plan will be key to success,” says Dempster. “After the Trango valley, we’ll go to 7000+ meters on Gasherbrum II before heading to the Shining Wall.” The west face of Gasherbrum IV (aka the Shining Wall) has only been climbed once to the summit, when a Korean team sieged the wall in 1997. In 1985, Wojciech Kurtyka and Robert Schauer made an alpine-style ascent of the 3,000-meter face but could not reach the true peak.

• Teng Kangpoche, Nepal. Chris Wright and Scott Adamson will attempt the beautiful north pillar of Teng Kangpoche (6,487 meters). Although the faces on either side of the pillar have been climbed, the 6,000-foot ridge itself has not. This past fall, Adamson and Wright did the first ascents of two peaks in Nepal.

Three of these expeditions—Barnaj II, Gasherbrum IV, and Teng Kangpoche—also recently received Lyman Spitzer Awards from the American Alpine Club.

For more information on the Mugs Stump Award, including reports from previous years, please visit www.mugsstumpaward.com.

Sources: Michael Kennedy, American Alpine Journal