Richmond, CA (March 23, 2009) – Mountain Hardwear, a leading mountaineering and outdoor clothing and equipment company, announces the recipients of the 2009 Expedition Sponsorship Program. Mountain Hardwear will give total of $10,000 to help fund two expeditions: Operation Denali, enabling four wounded soldiers to overcome combat injuries and summit 20,320 ft. Mt. McKinley (Denali) in Alaska, and the New Zealand Batura Expedition, first ascents of the south faces of Kampire Dior (7,142m) and Kuk Sar (6,934m) in Northern Pakistan.Operation Denali A team of warriors wounded in Iraq, two of which are amputees, plans to ascend the West Buttress Route of Denali in June 2009. The four soldiers, Marc Hoffmeister (U.S. Army Officer), Matt Nyman (U.S. Army), David Shebib (U.S. Army) and Jon Kuniholm (U.S. Marine Corps), share a common goal to overcome devastating combat injuries and to summit the highest mountain in North America, a symbol of the strength of America and those who defend it. In preparation, they have worked tirelessly toward rehabilitation with sports therapists, exercise physiologists and several orthopedic doctors. They also completed a twelve-day mountaineering course with the Alaska Mountaineering School in July 2008. The four soldiers, none of whom are professional mountaineers, share a passion for the outdoors and the will and determination to surmount the many challenges and obstacles facing them and their fellow veterans of war. For more information, please visit: www.theveteranscoalition.org/operation_denali
New Zealand Batura Expedition In June and July 2009, journalist and mountaineer Patricia Deavoll will lead a seasoned team of mountaineers to the western reaches of Karakoram, Pakistan. This remote region has seen very few climbers and none have attempted the southern faces of Kampire Dior and Kuk Sar in the Baltoro Glacier. The high-profile team, all hailing from New Zealand, includes Lydia Bradey, the first woman to climb Everest without supplemental oxygen, and professional guides Dean Staples and Brian Alder.About Mountain Hardwear:Mountain Hardwear makes cutting-edge mountaineering and outdoor equipment, apparel and accessories for the most extreme conditions. Mountain Hardwear was established in 1993 by a group of outdoor industry veterans and is based in Richmond, Calif. The company distributes its products through specialty outdoor and sporting goods retailers in the United States and over 40 countries worldwide. Mountain Hardwear has won numerous product and customer service awards since its inception, reflecting the company’s commitment and passion toward innovation. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Columbia Sportswear Company. For more information about Mountain Hardwear, visit the company’s Internet home page at www.mountainhardwear.com.