Award Presentation in Seattle will Honor Climbing’s Luminaries and Rising Stars
The American Alpine Club (AAC) is proud to announce this year’s Award recipients. Every year, during the Annual Benefit Dinner, the AAC awards outstanding achievements in conservation, climbing, and service to the climbing community. This year, five climbing greats, ages spanning from 20 to almost 90, will receive awards: Fred Beckey, Bob Craig, Tom Frost, Hayden Kennedy, and Royal Robbins. All have displayed monumental drive, courage, and commitment in the mountains and in their lives.
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, Fred Beckey, has achieved lasting recognition and admiration for his imagination, persistence and dedication to the mountain lifestyle. He is unofficially recognized as holding the all-time world record for first ascents, is a prolific author of exploratory, historical, personal, and instructional works, and is widely regarded as one of North America’s “most eccentric and colorful mountaineers.”
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. It is specifically understood that service to the Club itself can be differentiated from outstanding mountaineering accomplishment or service through the Club to the climbing community. 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. In his 65 years of membership, Bob Craig has been tireless in his dedication to the American Alpine Club, serving as President as well as dedicating time to several committees and boards. He continues his efforts today, serving on the Investment Committee, and supporting the American Mountaineering Museum.
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 Tom Frost, whose active personal role in advocating for clean climbing standards and Leave No Trace ethics, as well as leading the fight to save Camp 4 in the late 1990s, displays a deep love for the mountain environments and their devotees. Frost partnered with Yvon Chouinard to create many of the clean-climbing tools used today, including the RURP, Hexentrics, the modern ice tool pick, and more.
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. Hayden Kennedy, son of legendary alpinist Michael Kennedy, was placing gear on 5.13s by the age of 16, and is quickly proving his alpine chops with the likes of fellow dinner attendee and keynote speaker Steve House (the pair established new mixed lines in Southwestern Colorado this season). After successful trips to Patagonia and Nepal, it is clear that Hayden is preparing himself for great future accomplishments.
The Literary Award was established to recognize excellence in alpine literature by American writers. Royal Robbins, this year’s winner, is one of the pioneers of North American climbing with numerous and notable first ascents throughout the continent and, along with fellow award winners Tom Frost and Yvon Chouinard, was one of the earliest proponents of the clean climbing movement. Robbins’ career as an author spans several genres, and includes instructional classics like Advanced Rockcraft as well as the epic, seven-volume memoir he is presently working on, My Life: Royal Robbins. Robbins will be signing his latest book, Failing Falling, during the pre-dinner cocktail hour this year.
About the Annual Benefit and Dinner
The 2011 AAC Annual Benefit Dinner features a unique conversation about the risks, sacrifices, joys, and freedoms that come with deep commitment in the mountains. Leading the discussion are two of America’s greatest climbers from different generations, Dr. Tom Hornbein and Steve House.
The main event, on February 26, is open to the public. The evening features waterfront dining, cocktails, and silent and live auctions in the International Promenade of the Bell Harbor Conference Center in Seattle. Seat reservations are required, and space is limited. AAC members and non-members alike are invited to attend. New this year is a deeply discounted youth ticket for those 28 and younger.
Additional weekend events include slideshows, a climbers’ party, award ceremonies, and the annual AAC member meeting. Full schedule details are available at americanalpineclub.org/2011dinner.
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