Eric Deschamps $1,000, Eric along with his Northern Arizona based team seeks the objective of establishing a new route on the South face of Kukenan Tepui, considered the “twin brother” mountain of the famous Mount Roraima, immortalized in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic novel, “The Lost World.” These formations are located in the vast Gran Sabana region, Canaima National Park, in Southeast Venezuela and bordering with both Brazil and Guyana. The remote nature of the place, its natural significance and their mountaineering ethos compel them to place the absolute minimum the number of bolts their ascent and will instead follow the natural features on the rock to reach the top.
Christopher Marshall $1,000, Will tackle a Ski-Mountaineering expedition to the Neacola Mountains, a sub-range of the Aleutian Mountains in Alaska. While not the highest in the continent, they offer true alpine geography with extensive ice fields, glaciated terrain, and granite rock spires massifs. Their goal in the range is to establish first ascents and descents of unclimbed peaks within the range of their base camp, with the specific aim to explore the “Slingshot Glacier” (they labeled it that for ease of communication) and the surrounding peaks with objectives that include both technical alpine routes (rock, snow, & ice) and ski descents. Based on their research, this area has not seen previous human climbing and skiing traffic, thus presenting an opportunity for first ascents and descents.
Ephrat Bitton $500, Ephrat and her team seek to summit Denali via the West Buttress. This project has been the result of several years of training and gaining the necessary skills and experience to tackle this climb unguided. With ultimate goals of summiting Mt. Robson in the Canadian Rockies, Mount St. Elias in Alaska, and Mt. Cook in New Zealand, Denali is the logical stepping stone for her and her team—harder and higher than anything they have done before.
Maggie Crawford $500, Maggie aims to set the female speed ascent record for climbing all fifteen of the 14,000+ ft. peaks in California. If successful, she will become the first female and youngest person to ever climb all fifteen of the peaks in a single push. Beginning with a solo ascent of the wildly exposed Palisade Traverse (Thunderbolt Peak, Starlight Peak, North Palisade, Polemonium Peak, Mount Sill), she will link in the Middle Palisade and Split Mountain, squeeze in a mountain bike ascent of White Mountain, then quickly tackle Mount Langley, Muir, Whitney, Russell, Tyndall and Williamson all within a day and a half. The adventure will finish with a blast up to Shasta. This record-attempt will require the aerobic output of running twenty marathons combined with some free-soloing at 14,000 ft and call for back-to-back days of 16 hours of effort or more.
Saylor Flett $500, Saylor and his team seek the objective of the Carpe Ridge on Mount Fairweather, one of the worlds highest coastal mountains on the border of Alaska and western British Columbia. Having rarely climbed outside of the Sierra Nevada, Brett and Saylor seek to take their technical skills into the much larger Alaskan range for the first time under the apprenticeship, mentorship, and partnership of William “Bill” Pilling, a 20+ year veteran of Alaska mountaineering experience.
Bob Porter $500, Bob’s intended objective is a solo ascent of the Quad Direct on El Capitan. This route involves climbing the lower pitches of the Muir Wall to the lower pitches of Magic Mushroom to Mammoth Terraces, following the Muir Wall pitches to Grey Ledges and across the Triple Direct pitches to Camp IV of the Nose and, finally, finishing on the upper pitches of the Nose. Recently turned 60 and retiring after 32 years in public education, Bob wishes enrich a 42-year climbing career through a life-long dream of soloing El Cap. Having climbed the Zodiac in 1999 and with notable ascents in Yosemite, Zion, the Cascades, the Tetons, Squamish, etc., Bob has the drive and experience to see his dream through.
Brian Quines, $500 Brian and his team seek to climb two big-walls in Yosemite Valley, the Regular Northwest face on Half Dome and the Nose of El Capitan. Kevin Ruzics, a long-time climber who has always dreamed of bagging a Yosemite big wall, has recently been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Now with a sense of urgency, Kevin wants to live this dream with friends Brian and David. With several years of multi-pitch traditional climbing experience under their belts, but no aiding gear and no aiding knowledge, their goals are definitely of the highest caliber.
Geri Ulrey, $500, As gym climbers with very limited experience climbing outdoors, Geri and Suzanne’s climbing objective is to gain outdoor experience climbing in the Squamish area. Travelling to Squamish to climb in a classic setting in unknown, outdoor terrain will not only offer them a unique and challenging experience, it will also present itself as an opportunity to document their journey. Geri is an independent filmmaker and educator who will use this experience as an opportunity to document and share her journey and hopefully offer some insight into what climbing has meant to her as she has recovered and gained confidence in her body—and her mental strength—after a near death experience in June 2010. Her hope is that this video will also inspire others, especially women of all ages, to climb!
Dierdre Wolownick, $500 Dierdre started climbing at age 57. It has always been her dream to be able to comfortably lead traditional climbs. As an older climber, she finds that it take her longer to conquer the hesitation that keeps her from that dream. She wishes to develop some successful, confidence-building experience in leading, and learn more about the different kinds of rock and necessary rope and aid skills, in order to progress into her goal. To this end, Dierdre proposes to climb a variety of moderate routes at the Gunks in New York and at Cathedral Ledge in New Hampshire. She will be trained under the watch of more experienced climbers as well as two guides over the period of several weeks with the sole objective of learning to lead with confidence.
Luke Zachmann, $500 The goal and objective of Luke and his team is to climb California’s Big Four—The Red Dihedral on the Incredible Hulk, The Southwest Face of Mt. Conness, Dark Star on Temple Crag, and the Harding Route on Keeler Needle—specifically to climb them in a style that is exciting and in line with the attitudes of the first ascensionists. They will attempt all four climbs car-to-car in under seven days—all of them on-sight and self-supported—with the goal of further developing big mountain climbing skills such as rope management, fast transfer of belays, route-finding, pacing, and efficiency. This trip serves as a test piece for future expeditions into the Bugaboos, Ruth Gorge, and Patagonia.