AAC Announces Major 2009 Expedition Grants


Unclimbed Lunag Ri in Nepal. Joe Puryear and Dave Gottlieb are already in Nepal making their attempt on this 6,907-meter peak. Photo by Joe Puryear.

The American Alpine Club has announced $19,000 in grants to support American expeditions in 2009, from Baffin Island to Pakistan. Judging by these teams’ plans, it’s looking like a very interesting year for American climbing.

Six teams have been selected to receive the AAC’s Lyman Spitzer Cutting Edge Awards (a total of $12,000 in grant funding):

  • Kelly Cordes and Kyle Dempster will attempt new routes and first ascents among the little-known 6,000-meter-plus peaks of the northern Tien Shan range, on the Chinese side of the border.
  • Pat Goodman and Dave Sharratt will attempt unclimbed Peak 5,592m (a.k.a. the Barbarian) in China’s Qonglai Mountains, as well as the first ascent of Peak 5,513m by its 1,000-meter southeast face.
  • Toby Grohne and Jesse Huey will attempt a bold ice line on the 1,500-meter northwest face of Siguniang (6,250m) in Sichuan, China.
  • Joe Puryear will travel to Nepal with partner David Gottlieb to attempt one of the highest unclimbed peaks in the Himalaya: the beautiful, complex Lunag Ri (6,907m).
  • Pete Takeda will return to Pumari Chhish East for a second attempt on this unclimbed 6,890-meter Karakoram summit, along with partners Raphael Slawinski, Eamonn Walsh, and Ian Welsted.
  • Dave Turner is mounting a two-month solo expedition to Sam Ford Fjord on Baffin Island, where he will attempt a lightweight first ascent on the stunning walls of Broad Peak.
  • Micah Dash, winner of a 2008 Spitzer Award, is headed to Tibet this month to attempt the first ascent of 5,700-meter Dojitsenga with Jonny Copp. Their trip was postponed last year because of political unrest in the region.

Desire Mountain, near the Monarch Icefield, Coast Range, British Columbia. The unclimbed east ridge is prominent in the foreground. Photo by John Scurlock.

Five teams have been chosen to receive 2009 McNeill-Nott Awards from the AAC and Mountain Hardwear. These grants, ranging from $1,000 to $1,500, support amateur climbers exploring new routes and unclimbed peaks with small teams. They honor the memory of Karen McNeill and Sue Nott, who disappeared while attempting Mt. Foraker in Alaska. The 2009 McNeill-Nott grant winners are:

  • Nate Farr from Camas, Washington, for an attempt on the unclimbed central couloir on the east face of 19,750-foot Caraz II in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca, with Marcus Donaldson.
  • Caroline George from Salt Lake City, for a proposed new route on the north face of 19,740-foot Pharilapche in Nepal, with her husband, Adam George.
  • Brianna Hartzell from Bellevue, Washington, who will attempt the unclimbed east ridge of Desire Mountain in the Coast Range of British Columbia, with partners Mike Pond, Matt Van Biene, and Eric Dalzell.
  • Tyler Jones from Sun Valley, Idaho, to attempt the “Forgotten Wall” on Denali’s northwest side, with Joel Kauffman.
  • Zach Smith from Boulder, Colorado, for an attempted single-push new route on the east face of Kichatna Spire in Alaska, with Eric Decaria.

Both McNeill-Nott and Spitzer awards are granted each spring. Visit Americanalpineclub.org/grants to find applications for these and other grant programs, including AAC Mountain Fellowships, awarded twice a year to climbers 25 and under.

Date of Awards: April 2009

Source: American Alpine Club

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