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AAC Awards $12k in Grants Supporting Bold First Ascent Attempts in Pakistan and China

Posted on: February 22nd, 2011 by Luke Bauer

—2011 Lyman Spitzer Cutting Edge Award Winners Announced—

Golden, CO—The American Alpine Club is proud to announce this year’s Lyman Spitzer Cutting Edge Award recipients. Through the generous contribution of Lyman Spitzer, Jr.—longtime Club member and lover of the mountains—the AAC initiated the Lyman Spitzer Climbing Grants Program. The program promotes state-of-the-art, cutting-edge climbs through financial support of small, lightweight climbing teams attempting bold first ascents or difficult repeats of the most challenging routes in the world’s great mountain ranges.

Paul Gagner, the chair of the Lyman Spitzer Cutting Edge Award committee, noted, “We always have a strong pool of applicants to choose from, and this year was no different.  In the future I would encourage all climbers that have significant projects, with the experience to back them up, to apply for this prestigious award.”

This year’s grant-recipient teams focus their considerable energies on Asia, with attempts at new routes on Pakistan’s Great Trango Tower, Nafees Cap, and the Ogre II, and attempted first ascents on two unclimbed peaks in China’s Genyen Massif.

Great Trango Tower, East Face big-wall route – Skiy Detray and Andy Hoeckel will travel to the Baltoro region of Parkistan’s Karakoram to attempt a capsule-style first ascent of a route to the right of the 4,000’ Grand Voyage.

Nafees Cap, Southwest face – Ben Venter, Jake Tipton and Willy Oppenheim will attempt a first ascent, all-free, of this impressive 3,000+ foot face in the Charakusa Valley, Pakistan.

Dkyil‘khor Ri and Bka Ri - David Anderson, Szu-ting Yi and Eric Salazar intend single-push alpine-style first ascents of two unclimbed peaks in the Genyen Massif, Sichuan, China.  In addition they will be shooting video for a full-length film to raise awareness of this unique region and its vanishing culture.

Ogre II, North Face – Colin Haley and Bjørn-Eivind Årtun will attempt the unclimbed and un-attempted face across from the SE Buttress of Ogre I in the Karakoram, Pakistan.  They will approach the climb via the Choktoi Glacier.  This peak has only been climbed once, in 1983, from the Biafo Glacier by Korean climbers.

In addition to the Lyman Spitzer Cutting Edge Award the American Alpine Club offers grants for everyday climbers attempting big-walls, new or notable free climbs, and alpine objectives. Of significant prominence is the Club’s ‘Gateway Grant’; the Mountain Fellowship Award offers funding to climbers under the age of 25 to aid them in making the transition to the Greater Ranges.

The annual application deadline for the Lyman Spitzer Grant is January 1. A committee of three active climbers reviews the applications, selects the recipients, and decides on award amounts. For more details and specific application information for this and other AAC grants visit the American Alpine Club website.

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