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Rockies Region Live Your Dream Grants Announced

7/12/2012, Golden, CO—The Rockies Region of the American Alpine Club is pleased to announce the winners of the first Live Your Dream Grant. The grant—new this year—was born from the idea that the most important climbs are our own. It funds individuals or small teams in the pursuit of their climbing dreams. The Live Your Dream grants provide seed money to climbers—of all disciplines, ages, and abilities—who have ambitions to expand their climbing horizons.

The five grant winning teams from the Rockies Region plan trips to Africa, British Columbia, Patagonia, and Italy with goals of tackling difficult alpine rock climbs and hard Euro sport-climbs:

Brett Bloxom, Denver, CO. Brett and partner Lance Sullins will travel to Africa to climb Mt. Kenya, a dream born in a climbing gym in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Since that time, they have climbed together extensively in the Tetons, Colorado, and Red Rocks, all the while dreaming of taking their newly acquired skills to the mountains. Mt. Kenya will be a significant step in their progression as climbers—it involves complex route-finding, an isolated mountain in a country with limited search and rescue capability, and considerable technical climbing on long routes at elevation. For both, Mt. Kenya will be a significant step in their progression towards a dream of even more challenging expeditions. 

Jewell Lund, Salt Lake City, UT. Jewell and partner Kim Hall, will travel to the Bugaboos in British Columbia. For both women, it will be a milestone in their experiences as climbers—their objectives will be longer, more isolated, and as difficult (or more difficult) than routes they have previously climbed. With extensive time spent in the role of "student" on long, traditional rock climbs, this will be the opportunity to venture into the role of "partner" as they utilize their learned self-sufficiency and problem solving skills. Their objectives include the classic Beckey-Chouinard (V 5.10) on South Howser Tower, the Cooper-Kor (V 5.10) on Pigeon Spire, Solitary Confinement (III 5.11) on Prince Albert Spire, and Sunshine Crack (IV 5.11-) on Snowpatch Spire. 

Jonathan Byers, Louisville, CO. Jonathan's dream is to climb Fitz Roy in Patagonia—a dream that was nearly realized while working on a project to study climate change in El Chalten in 2011. On this trip, Jonathan witnessed the aftermath of a devastating accident in which a climber was killed when her partner was unable to rescue her post-accident. Jonathan instantly realized that he did not possess the rescue skills necessary to be a responsible partner in the unforgiving mountains of Patagonia. As such, he will use the Live Your Dream grant to gain these skills through a self-rescue course, so that he is prepared to return to Patagonia—this time to climb—in November of 2012.

Brandon Howard, Carbondale, CO. Brandon and partner Casey Jo Harn share a dream to experience travel, culture, adventure, and new climbing together. Both are about to embark upon year-long English teaching programs in Europe, and seek a climbing adventure together before settling down to involved jobs in different countries. They will head to Arco, Italy to sport climb together, and hope to push themselves (and each other) into harder grades. They have compiled a list of dream routes, from 5.11 to 5.13, as a means to accomplish this. This trip will be the opportunity to push themselves as sport climbers, while also experiencing the people and culture of a new destination—the combination of these is the ultimate dream of both partners.

The “Live Your Dream” Climbing Grants are developed and administered locally with community support—each Region of the American Alpine Club has it’s own grant program.

In the Rockies Region, the “Live Your Dream” Climbing Grant seeks to support climbers from a range of ages and experience levels, as well as a range of climbing disciplines (sport climbing, bouldering, traditional rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, etc.). Climbers from Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Southern Idaho are eligible for the Rockies Region grant.

The AAC launched the program this year with $12,000, which will be distributed to at least a dozen individuals or small teams in pursuit of their personal climbing dreams. The emphasis of the grant is on projects that have significant positive impact on grantees’ progressions as climbers. Regions have been encouraged to supplement that funding with fundraising events in their own areas.

Rockies Regional Coordinator Jenn Flemming said, via email, “The LYD Grant committee for the Rocky Mountain region consisted of Madaleine Sorkin, Bob Richards, Amelia Patterson, Alan Peters, and myself. With over 40 applications, the deliberation process was quite challenging, with many qualified applicants turned down due simply to financial constraints. The process was simultaneously truly enjoyable as we awarded funds to individuals/teams with outstanding applications and exciting objectives. Ultimately, those selected best fulfilled the goal of the new grant—awardees’ pursuits offer tangible benefit to their progression as climbers, and will ultimately support them in attaining long-held personal climbing dreams.”

She continued, “This award was incredibly fulfilling to deliberate over, and I look forward to next year’s round of applications. I encourage folks out there to tell their friends—especially those with rock climbing and bouldering dreams—and I look forward to reviewing even more applications next year!”

About the Live Your Dream Grant Program
Each Region of The American Alpine Club has its own local grants programs to support climbers in realizing their climbing ambitions and dreams. These grants are developed and administered locally with community support. 

The purpose of the Rockies Region "Live Your Dream" Grant is to fund individuals or small teams in pursuit of their personal climbing dreams. The emphasis of the grant is on projects that have significant positive impact on grantees’ progressions as climbers, as opposed to cutting-edge or exploratory objectives. We seek to support climbers from a range of ages and experience levels, as well as a range of climbing disciplines (sport climbing, bouldering, traditional rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, etc.). Climbers from Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Southern Idaho are eligible for the Rockies Region grant.

About The American Alpine Club
The American Alpine Club is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides knowledge and inspiration, conservation and advocacy, and logistical support for the climbing community. The AAC advocates for American climbers domestically and around the world; provides grants and volunteer opportunities to protect and conserve the places we climb; hosts local and national climbing festivals and events; publishes two of the world’s most sought-after climbing annuals, The American Alpine Journal and Accidents in North American Mountaineering; cares for the world’s leading climbing library and country’s leading mountaineering museum; manages the Grand Teton Climbers’ Ranch as part of a larger lodging network for climbers; and annually gives $80,000+ toward climbing, conservation, and research grants to adventurers who travel the world. Learn about additional programs and become a member at americanalpineclub.org. Join the AAC’s online community at facebook.com/americanalpineclub, americanalpineclub.org/news, or follow all the latest press on the Club’s Press Room RSS feed at americanalpineclub.org/prfeed.