AAC Announced 2010 Spitzer Awards


3/15/10 - The AAC has selected five expeditions to receive its 2010 Lyman Spitzer Cutting Edge Awards. A total of $12,000 will be divided among the five small American teams, which will attempt lightweight, state-of-the-art climbs from Alaska to China.

“We had a really great applicant pool this year, including for the first time several all-women’s teams,” said Paul Gagner, chair of the Spitzer Awards Committee. “The AAC is psyched to be supporting such impressive expeditions.”

Lorna Illingworth from Portland, Oregon, is teaming up with Madaleine Sorkin from Boulder, Colorado, and Emily Stifler from Bozeman, Montana, to attempt the first complete free ascent of the Original Route (VI 5.9+ A3) on the southeast face of Mt. Proboscis. Avoiding a previous free-climbing team’s traverse to a neighboring route, the three women expect to add several pitches of 5.12 climbing to the remote 2,000-foot wall in Canada’s Logan Mountains.

In early fall, Dylan Johnson of Santa Monica, California, will travel to Sichuan Province, China, with Josh Wharton of Rifle, Colorado, aiming for the first ascent of Seerdengpu (5,592m) via its north buttress. This striking line ascends a 1,200-meter granite buttress, followed by 600 meters of alpine terrain. The two men plan to attempt an ultra-light, single-push ascent.

Renan Ozturk from Boulder, Colorado, is returning to the Alaska Range with Zack Smith from Boulder and Freddie Wilkinson of Madison, New Hampshire, hoping to complete the Tooth Traverse above the Ruth Gorge. Ozturk and Smith attempted this traverse in 2009, starting at Espresso Gap and crossing over the Sugar Tooth and Eye Tooth. If the three men can make it over Bear’s Tooth this May, they will need to ascend the unclimbed south face of Moose’s Tooth to complete the traverse.

Cory Richards of Red Lodge, Montana, will join teammates Stephan Siegrist of Interlaken, Switzerland, and Graham Zimmerman from Edmonds, Washington, to attempt the north face of Chamlang (7,319m) in Nepal. This 2,000-meter face has only been climbed once, when Reinhold Messner and Doug Scott reached the lower east summit. In the autumn of 2010, the American-Swiss expedition will attempt the direct central spur to the main western summit.

This fall, Freddie Wilkinson of Madison, New Hampshire, will attempt an alpine-style ascent of the south face of Nuptse (7,800m) with his longtime climbing partners Ben Gilmore from Jackson, Wyoming, and Kevin Mahoney from Madison, New Hampshire. The team will attempt either a new route on the left side of Nuptse’s enormous south wall or an alpine-style second ascent of the route Moonlight Sonata on the southeast spur.

Winners of the annual Lyman Spitzer Awards are chosen by a committee of three veteran climbers with vast experience in first ascents and expeditionary climbing: Paul Gagner (chair), Jared Ogden, and Jack Tackle.

The Spitzer grants are made possible by a generous donation from longtime AAC member Lyman Spitzer Jr. To learn more about the Spitzer Awards or download an application, click here.